Ben Fung

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Staff analytical notes

Merchant Acceptance of Cash and Credit Cards at the Point of Sale

Staff Analytical Note 2018-1 Ben Fung, Kim Huynh, Kerry Nield, Angelika Welte
Recent data show that the use of credit cards in Canada has been increasing, while the use of cash has been declining. At the same time, only two-thirds of small or medium-sized businesses accept credit cards.

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Staff discussion papers

A Tale of Two Countries: Cash Demand in Canada and Sweden

Staff Discussion Paper 2019-7 Walter Engert, Ben Fung, Björn Segendorf
Cash use for payments has been steadily decreasing in many countries, including Canada and Sweden. This might suggest an evolution toward a cashless society. But in Canada, cash in circulation relative to GDP has been stable for decades and has even increased in recent years. By contrast, the cash-to-GDP ratio in Sweden has been falling steadily. What has caused this difference? Are there lessons to be learned from comparing the Canadian and Swedish experiences?

Is a Cashless Society Problematic?

Staff Discussion Paper 2018-12 Walter Engert, Ben Fung, Scott Hendry
The use of bank notes in Canada for payments has declined consistently for some time, and similar trends are evident in other countries. This has led some observers to predict a cashless society in the future.

Central Bank Digital Currency: Motivations and Implications

Staff Discussion Paper 2017-16 Walter Engert, Ben Fung
The emergence of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain and distribution ledger technology have attracted significant attention. These developments have raised the possibility of considerable impacts on the financial system and perhaps the wider economy.

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Framework for Assessing Why and How

Staff Discussion Paper 2016-22 Ben Fung, Hanna Halaburda
Digital currencies have attracted strong interest in recent years and have the potential to become widely adopted for use in making payments. Public authorities and central banks around the world are closely monitoring developments in digital currencies and studying their implications for the economy, the financial system and central banks.

Electronic Money and Payments: Recent Developments and Issues

Staff Discussion Paper 2014-2 Ben Fung, Miguel Molico, Gerald Stuber
The authors review recent developments in retail payments in Canada and elsewhere, with a focus on e-money products, and assess their potential public policy implications.

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Staff working papers

Swedish Riksbank Notes and Enskilda Bank Notes: Lessons for Digital Currencies

Staff Working Paper 2018-27 Ben Fung, Scott Hendry, Warren E. Weber
This paper examines the experience of Sweden with government notes and private bank notes to determine how well the Swedish experience corresponds to that of Canada and the United States. Sweden is important to study because it has had government notes in circulation for more than 350 years, and it had government notes before private bank notes.

Canadian Bank Notes and Dominion Notes: Lessons for Digital Currencies

Staff Working Paper 2017-5 Ben Fung, Scott Hendry, Warren E. Weber
This paper studies the period in Canada when both private bank notes and government-issued notes (Dominion notes) were simultaneously in circulation. Because both of these notes shared many of the characteristics of today's digital currencies, the experience with these notes can be used to draw lessons about how digital currencies might perform.

The Impact of Retail Payment Innovations on Cash Usage

Staff Working Paper 2012-14 Ben Fung, Kim Huynh, Leonard Sabetti
Many predict that innovations in retail payment may render cash obsolete. We investigate this possibility in the context of recent payment innovations such as contactless-credit and stored-value cards.

Uncovering Inflation Expectations and Risk Premiums From Internationally Integrated Financial Markets

Staff Working Paper 1999-6 Ben Fung, Scott Mitnick, Eli Remolona
Theory and empirical evidence suggest that the term structure of interest rates reflects risk premiums as well as market expectations about future inflation and real interest rates. We propose an approach to extracting such premiums and expectations by exploiting both the comovements among interest rates across the yield curve and between two countries, Canada and […]

Monetary Shocks in the G-6 Countries: Is There a Puzzle?

Staff Working Paper 1997-7 Ben Fung, Marcel Kasumovich
This paper attempts to reduce the uncertainty about the dynamics of the monetary transmission mechanism. Central to this attempt is the identification of monetary policy shocks. Recently, VAR approaches that use over-identifying restrictions have shown success in isolating such shocks.

Overnight Rate Innovations as a Measure of Monetary Policy Shocks in Vector Autoregressions

Staff Working Paper 1996-4 Walter Engert, Ben Fung, Jamie Armour
The authors examine the Bank of Canada's overnight rate as a measure of monetary policy in vector autoregression (VAR) models. Since the time series of the Bank's current measure of the overnight rate begins only in 1971, the authors splice it to day loan rate observations to obtain a sufficiently long period of data.

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Bank publications

Bank of Canada Review articles

November 16, 2017

Acceptance and Use of Payments at the Point of Sale in Canada

Merchants universally accept cash. Consumers widely hold cash but also carry debit and credit cards. The cost of using a method of payment has only a small influence on which method consumers use. Large merchants accept all payments, while only two-thirds of small and medium-sized businesses accept credit cards. Merchants report that credit cards are the costliest payment method compared with cash and debit cards. However, costs are not the only consideration. Merchant acceptance of credit accounts for the many con-sumers that want to use credit cards. This interaction between consumers and merchants is known as network externalities.
May 14, 2015

The Use of Cash in Canada

The Bank of Canada’s 2013 Methods-of-Payment Survey indicates that the share of cash in the overall number of retail transactions has continued to decrease, mainly because of increased use of contactless credit cards. The share of cash in the total value of retail transactions was virtually unchanged from 2009 to 2013. In particular, the value share of cash transactions above $50 increased. Automated banking machines (ABMs), still the major source of cash for Canadians, were used less often in 2013 than in 2009. Cash use in Canada is broadly similar to that in Australia and the United States.
May 13, 2014

Understanding Platform-Based Digital Currencies

Given technological advances and the widespread use of the Internet, various digital currencies have emerged. In most cases, Internet platforms such as Facebook and Amazon restrict the functionality of their digital currencies to enhance the business model and maximize their profits. While platform-based digital currencies could increase the efficiency of retail payments, they could also raise some important policy issues if they were to become widely used outside of the platform. Thus, it is important to closely monitor the evolution of these digital currencies.
November 15, 2012

The Changing Landscape for Retail Payments in Canada and the Implications for the Demand for Cash

Over the past 20 years, there has been a major shift away from the use of paper-based retail payment instruments, such as cash and cheques, toward electronic means of payment, such as debit cards and credit cards. Recent Bank of Canada research on consumers’ choice of payment instruments indicates that cash is frequently used for transactions with low values because of its speed, ease of use and wide acceptance, while debit and credit cards are more commonly used for transactions with higher values because of perceived attributes such as safety and record keeping. While innovations in retail payments currently being introduced into the Canadian marketplace could lead to a further reduction in the use of cash over the longer term, the implications for the use of cash of some of the structural and regulatory developments under way are less clear.

May 17, 2012

Conference Summary: New Developments in Payments and Settlement

The Bank of Canada’s annual conference, held in November 2011, brought together leading researchers from universities, central banks and other institutions from around the world. Divided into four sessions plus two keynote addresses, the conference covered such topics as the use of cash and other means of payment in retail transactions, large-value payments systems, and […]
November 17, 2011

Modelling the Counterfeiting of Bank Notes: A Literature Review

The objective of this article is to improve our understanding of counterfeiting and its policy implications by reviewing research in this area. There has been almost no empirical work on counterfeiting because of the limited availability of counterfeiting data and related statistics. The authors therefore focus on theoretical studies that directly model the behaviour of the relevant economic agents. They first establish some stylized facts about counterfeiting to provide a general understanding of the problem. They then briefly review several models of counterfeiting and summarize their relevant insights, focusing on the implications of the findings for the incentive to counterfeit, social welfare and anti-counterfeiting policies. The authors find that the policy implications of these studies support the Bank’s comprehensive anti-counterfeiting strategy.
October 8, 2006

Modelling Financial Channels for Monetary Policy Analysis

The Bank of Canada considers a wide range of information and analysis before making a monetary policy decision and uses carefully articulated models to produce economic projections and to examine alternative scenarios. This article describes an ongoing research agenda at the Bank to develop models in which financial variables play an active role in the transmission of monetary policy actions to economic activity. Such models can help to analyze information from the financial side of the economy and to provide an overall view of the implications of financial developments for the current economic outlook. The authors also explain how this research can help address other issues relevant to the objectives of monetary policy, including how asset-price movements should be taken into account in the monetary policy framework.

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