Consumer spending declined significantly during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. This negative shock likely reduced spending across all methods of payment (cash, debit, credit, etc.). The mix of payment methods consumers use could also be affected. We study how the pandemic has influenced the demand for and use of cash. We also offer insights into the use of other payment methods, such as debit and credit cards.
Using data from our 2014 cost-of-payments survey, we calculate resource costs for cash, debit cards and credit cards. For each payment method, we examine the total cost incurred by consumers, retailers, financial institutions and infrastructures, the Royal Canadian Mint and the Bank of Canada.