2018 Merchant Acceptance Survey

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In 2015, the Bank of Canada surveyed merchants and found that cash was nearly universally accepted (Fung, Huynh and Kosse 2017). Since 2015, retail payments in Canada have become increasingly digitalized, as many Canadians have adopted digital payment innovations like contactless cards and Interac e-Transfer. This trend prompted us to ask the question: what share of Canadian merchants still accept cash? The Bank of Canada’s 2018 Merchant Acceptance Survey (MAS) was designed to study the acceptance of payment methods by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Canada. In this paper, we discuss the survey’s design, methodology and findings, and compare our results with the findings from 2015. Our results show that cash remains accepted by 96 percent of SMBs in Canada and that only 8 percent of SMBs report plans to stop accepting cash within the next five years.