November 11, 2008 In a competitive sales environment, merchants are compelled to offer consumers the option of paying for goods and services using a variety of payment methods, including cash, debit card, or credit card. Each method entails different costs and benefits to merchants. To better understand the costs of accepting retail payments, the Bank of Canada surveyed over 500 Canadian merchants and found that most consider cash the least costly. This article investigated this perception by calculating the variable costs per transaction of accepting different means of payment. The findings are that costs for each payment method vary by merchant and transaction value, with debit cards the least costly payment for a broad cross-section of merchants.
April 14, 2006 While the volume and value of bank notes have continued to increase, the use of cash as a payment method has been affected by the growing use of electronic alternatives. Taylor reports on a 2004 Bank of Canada survey of consumers' payment habits and their perceptions of cash and its alternatives, including their confidence in the security of bank notes. Analysis of the survey results shows that numerous factors affect the demand for bank notes, including income, age, education, gender, the use of debit and credit cards, and the perceived convenience of cash. Taylor also includes a report on the construction of a bank note confidence index that will serve as a benchmark for future surveys.