Kim P. Huynh research is a Senior Research Advisor in the Currency Department at the Bank of Canada. His research interests include industrial economics and applied econometrics. Kim P. Huynh received his PhD in economics from Queen’s University.
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.
There has been tremendous discussion of Bitcoin, digital currencies and FinTech. However, there is limited empirical evidence of Bitcoin’s adoption and usage. We propose a methodology to collect a nationally representative sample using the Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) to track the ubiquity and usage of Bitcoin in Canada.
Cash is the preferred method of payment for small value transactions generally less than $25. We provide insight to this finding with a new theoretical model that characterizes and compares consumers’ costs of paying with cash to paying with cards for each transaction.
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.