Canada is the most cashless society on the planet according to a new survey that looked at payment habits in 20 of the world’s top economies.
The survey conducted by ForexBonuses used six different metrics to arrive at its ranking, including the number of credit cards and debit cards per person, the number of cards in issue with contactless functionality, the country’s growth in cashless payments over the last five years and the percentage of people aware of mobile payment options.
Canada’s high finish comes from having about two credit cards per person, second only to the United States which has just under three. Surprisingly, Canadians possess the lowest amount of debit cards per capita at 0.7 per person, along with having contactless functionality in only 26 per cent of their cards.
“Cashless payments are the future, according to experts who believe cashless societies may exist as soon as 2022,” says the survey. “We wanted to see which countries are ahead of the trend.”
Payment technology company Moneris says that by 2030, cash will make up only ten per cent of the money spent in Canada, as payment options such as credit card, debit and mobile payments through services like Apple Pay will dominate the sector.
Rob Cameron, chief product officer at Moneris says that the move will be both consumer-driven as well as being led by retailers happy to cut out the coins and bills.
“I think if anything, the ten per cent projection is conservative,” Cameron said to the Vancouver Sun. “If cash gets small enough … more retailers may start turning it off. We are already seeing that; we’re seeing the airlines do that, we’re seeing parking do that, and we are seeing some quick-serve retailers starting to do it.”
The number two ranking on the cashless survey went to Sweden, which had the highest percentage of non-cash transactions at 59 per cent, with third place going to the United Kingdom which has 41 per cent of cards having contactless functionality.
President and CEO of Equitable Bank, Andrew Moor, says that banking in Canada needs to be updated, with more collaboration between banking regulators and a reduction of the inefficiencies and time lag involved with moving funds between financial service providers —and a commitment to becoming a cashless economy.
“The overheads associated with handling and processing physical cash are a drag on our economy,” writes Moor for the Globe and Mail. “A cashless future where you leave home with your phone, transact anywhere and any time, and better manage your money seems like an achievable and attractive goal for all Canadians.”
Currently, there are 68.5 million Visa and Mastercard cards in circulation in Canada, according to the Canadian Bankers Association, which says that 58 per cent of Canadians pay their credit card balance in full each month. Moneris says in the first quarter of 2017, Canadian spending was up 3.46 per cent from one year previous, with the volume of tapped transaction dollars increasing by 62.17 per cent.