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Methods-of-Payment Survey

The Bank of Canada surveys Canadian consumers to get a better understanding of how they pay for goods and services. The Methods-of-Payment survey provides a representative snapshot of Canadians’ payment choices, with a focus on cash use.

As Canada’s sole issuer of bank notes, it is important for the Bank to understand the rapidly evolving payments landscape. The Methods-of-Payment survey was conducted in 2009, 2013, 2017, 2021 and 2022.

This survey includes a questionnaire and a diary where participants record their payments and cash withdrawals over the course of three days. Using this information, we calculate the share of payments made with cash, credit cards, debit cards and other methods.

The payment choices of consumers and merchants are a two-way street. If you are interested in the payment methods accepted by small and medium-sized businesses, check out the Merchant Acceptance Survey.

Latest results

  • While cash use has declined over the long term, cash is still used on a regular basis. The share of cash purchases has been stable since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cash was used for 22% of all purchases in 2022, accounting for 12% of the value of purchases.
  • The use of contactless payments has increased in the long-term. In 2022, 63% of debit card and 68% of credit card in-person payments were made using the tap-and-go feature.
  • Consumers are making fewer ABM cash withdrawals over time, but the amount of cash withdrawn and held by consumers has increased. The pandemic accelerated the overall demand for cash in Canada and our surveys also show an increase in consumer cash holdings.

To learn more about how Canadians pay, and their views on cash and cards, read the full survey report.

Cash on hand and ABM withdrawals

Cash on hand and ABM withdrawals
Year Average cash on hand ($) No cash on hand (%) Average ABM withdrawal ($) Average ABM withdrawals per month (qty) Made a withdrawal in the past week (%)
2009 72 5 113 4.4 50
2013 81 6 118 2.7 37
2017 106 11 140 2.3 27
2021 127 25 154 1.7 28
2022 130 21 156 1.8 29

Payment shares over time – volume shares

Payment shares over time – value shares

Consumers see a future with cash

Note: Reported cashless means the respondent answered they have “already stopped using cash.” Actually cashless are those who state being cashless and report carrying no cash in their wallet, purse or pockets elsewhere in the survey.
Source: After the 2017 MOP, the Bank identified a need to conduct payment surveys more often, and fielded a Cash Alterative Survey (CAS) in August 2019. It covered additional topics like Canadians’ plans to go cashless. Subsequent waves of the CAS were accelerated due to the onset of the pandemic. The April 2020 CAS collected data during the first wave of COVID-19 cases, followed by a Cash Pulse Survey in July 2020. Follow-ups of the CAS were conducted in November 2020, April 2021 and August 2021. An additional Cash Pulse Survey was conducted in September 2022.

Year No plans to go cashless % Reported cashless % Actually cashless % Cashless within 5 years % Cashless in more than 5 years %
August 2019 82 10 4 6 2
April 2020 74 19 10 6 1
July 2020 78 14 6 7 1
Nov 2020 80 12 5 7 1
April 2021 78 13 6 7 1
Aug 2021 81 13 6 5 1
Nov 2021 79 14 7 6 2
Sep 2022 77 15 - 6 1
Nov 2022 80 13 5 5 1

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