2019 Cash Alternative Survey Results

Available as: PDF

The role of cash in Canadians’ lives has been evolving, as innovations in digital payments have become more widely adopted over the past decade. The emergence of privately issued digital currencies has motivated many central banks to conduct research into central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). We contribute to the Bank of Canada’s research on CBDC by monitoring Canadians’ use of cash and their adoption of digital payment methods.

The Bank conducted the 2019 Cash Alternative Survey (CAS) in August and September 2019. The 2019 CAS asked respondents to report their cash holdings, adoption of cryptocurrencies, and views regarding the potential impact of cash disappearing from the Canadian economy.

We find that Canadians’ cash holdings remain stable, and cryptocurrency adoption remains limited and concentrated among few demographics. Looking ahead, we find few Canadians plan to stop using cash and a significant share report they would find the disappearance of cash problematic. We plan to conduct further iterations of the Cash Alternative Study to further analyze Canadians’ cash use, including their withdrawal and spending behaviour.