Examining Canadian Payment Methods and Trends – Report

Earlier in 2012, the CPA invited Canada’s payment service providers, financial institutions, and payment researchers and consultants to participate in a payments data exchange, to obtain a comprehensive look at retail payments in Canada in 2011. To gauge the evolution of payments over recent years, the data was compared to data gathered from 2008, revealing several interesting trends.

Key findings of the report revealed that in 2011:

Emerging payments: steady but small

E-wallets and electronic P2P payment transactions combined represented a total of nearly $10 billion dollars in 2011, but are still only a small portion of the Canadian payments volume (0.1%). E-wallets and P2P payments was the fastest growing payments category analyzed, with volume growing by almost 40% annually since 2008.

Prepaid Cards: establishing a presence

Prepaid cards (open and closed loop) payment values grew at a rapid rate of about 47% annually. Prepaid average transaction sizes skyrocketed to above $115 in 2011, from under $85 in 2008. Prepaid cards payment volumes more than doubled since 2008, surpassing ABM volumes and reaching about half the volume of cheque payments.

Debit Cards: still growing

Debit card payments were the second most widely-used payment method, representing about 16% of all Canadian payments volume. Debit growth was strong, averaging over 5% annually.

Credit card volume: still strong

As the third most popular payment method, credit cards accounted for 14% of the volume of payments made in Canada in 2011, but only 4% of the value. However, credit card payments were the fastest growing “traditional” payment type, with an average growth of over 7% annually since 2008.

Cash: slowly declining

Cash is still the most widely-used retail payment method, accounting for almost half (46%) of the volume of retail transactions made in 2011. However, it is starting to show signs of decline. The CPA estimates that cash volume is down about 4% since 2008, with the value holding almost even since 2008.

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