Is Canada Bound To Go Cashless?


Once upon a time, in the country of Canada, a person walked into a store and made a purchase totalling five dollars. He took out a blue five-dollar bill to pay for it. In 2020, this occurrence seldom takes place. These days, a Canadian is a lot more likely to pull out a credit card or debit card and tap it on the store’s POS terminal to complete such a transaction.

85 percent of Canadians pay for their purchases using credit or debit cards.

“According to the Retail Council of Canada,” reports Marek Tkach of Global News, “only 15 per cent of retail consumers regularly pay with cash.”

John Graham is the director of government relations for the Retail Council of Canada. He was quoted in Tkach’s article about Canada’s growingly-cashless ways: “You constantly hear of consumers that have no cash on them and may not have cash for days because of how easy it is to tap a debit card or a credit card.”

Gone are the days when small transactions were strictly cash-based.

The idea that only big ticket items are worth paying for on a credit card is, today, considered archaic. People all over Canada go through Tim Hortons drive-thrus for their coffees each morning and use their credit or debit cards to pay the couple of bucks it takes to move on with their hot beverage and breakfast combos.

Janice Urniezius is the owner of Park Line Coffee. She knows first-hand of the penchant Canadian consumers have of using their credit and debit cards for relatively small charges.

“It’s definitely a lot more tap and a lot more Apple pay, Google pay, that kind of payment,” she reveals in Tkach’s article, “It depends on the rates you’ve negotiated so if you do a high volume, your costs are actually fairly low. For my business for the small transaction fee, it’s always worth it, whatever gets the customers through the door.”

Canada is slowly, but surely becoming a cashless society.

Jason Osler of CBC News agrees that “Canada is the top country in the world embracing cashless technology.” He highlights the fact that there has never been more ways to pay for something. And the oldest way to pay – cash, is on the decline.

In his article, he acknowledges that cashless systems may not be perfect. But Canada’s love for credit cards and debit cards is spreading south of the border. “To save drivers time and to reduce traffic congestion, New York state switched to cashless toll booths at Grand Island, where millions of tourists travelling to Niagara Falls pass through every year,” he reports.

Osler notes that New York governor, Andrew Cuomo is hoping to implement the cashless system all throughout the state this year. Cuomo isn’t unlike the Royal Canadian Legion who, at the time of the article’s publication in 2018, experimented with cashless fundraising efforts with their digital Remembrance Day poppy. The initiative enabled Canadians to purchase, personalize and post a digital poppy, while still contributing money to veterans.

According to executive director of the Royal Canadian Legion, Pamela Sweeny, “it gives us an opportunity to perhaps reach a younger Canadian audience. We feel that, in this day and age, most people aren’t walking around with wallets and change purses.”

Are you taking advantage of Canada’s cashless ways?

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