The rise in digital payment innovations has spurred a discussion about the future of cash at the point of sale. The Bank conducted the 2021–22 Merchant Acceptance Survey Pilot Study to study trends in merchant cash acceptance and monitor conditions for the potential issuance of a central bank digital currency.
We present results from the 2021 Methods-of-Payment Survey, including updated payment shares. We highlight long-term trends and provide additional context for results with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We report on the dynamics of Bitcoin awareness and ownership from 2016 to 2021, using the Bank of Canada's Bitcoin Omnibus Surveys (BTCOS). Our analysis also helps understand Bitcoin owners who adopted during the COVID-19 and how they differ from long-term owners.
We provide an analysis of cash trends in Canada before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also consider the potential two scenarios for issuance of a central bank digital currency in Canada: the emergence of a cashless society or the widespread use of an alternative digital currency in Canada. Finally, we discuss the Canadian experience in maintaining cash as an efficient and accessible method of payment and store of value.
We estimate the effect that owning Bitcoin has on the amount of cash held by Canadian consumers. Our results question the view that adopting certain new technologies, such as Bitcoin, leads to a decline in cash holdings.
Chen et al. (2021) show that almost one-third of First Nations band offices in Canada are within 1 kilometre (km) of an automated banking machine (ABM) or financial institution (FI) branch and more than half are within 5 km.
Using data from the Bank Note Distribution System and consumer surveys, we find that bank notes in circulation remained high through 2021. Canadians continued to rely on electronic methods of payment, but a significant share also continued using cash for payments.
We construct and estimate a structural two-stage model of equilibrium in a market for payments in order to quantify the network externalities and identify the main determinants of consumer and merchant decisions.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased the demand for cash. Cash in circulation increased sharply from March through December 2020, particularly in the early months of this period. Although use of electronic methods of payment also increased significantly, cash use for payments remains high for low-value transactions and among certain demographic groups.