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.
The physical network of bank branches is important in how consumers manage their cash holdings. This paper estimates how consumer withdrawal behaviour responds to the distance they must travel to their branch.
Adequate cash distribution is one the Bank of Canada’s core interests. Canadians’ ability to access cash influences the Bank’s thinking on issuing a central bank digital currency. We provide a perspective on these issues by exploring access of First Nations reserves to cash.
How do Canadians pay their bills? 2019 survey data collected from over 4,000 Canadian consumers show how people’s bill payment choices vary with consumer characteristics and types of bills. The data also reveal that many consumers feel limited in their choices, which suggests that preferences of billers might play an important role as well.
Using Bank Note Distribution System data on the demand for cash up to September 2020, we find that demand was strong. This is true even though cash use for payments declined early in the pandemic. When mobility restrictions and lockdown measures were eased, cash use for payments increased sharply but remained less popular than electronic methods of payment.
Distributional Effects of Payment Card Pricing and Merchant Cost Pass-through in Canada and the United StatesAlthough credit cards are more expensive for merchants to accept than cash or debit cards, merchants typically pass through their costs evenly to all customers. Along with consumer card rewards and banking fees, this creates cross-subsidies between payment methods. Because higher-income individuals tend to use credit cards more than those with lower incomes, our results indicate that these cross-subsidies might lead to regressive distributional effects.
Contactless payment cards are a competitive alternative to cash. Using Canadian panel data from 2010 to 2017, this study investigates whether contactless credit cards are an important contributor to the decline in the transactional use of cash.
The role of cash in Canadians’ lives has been evolving, as innovations in digital payments have become more widely adopted over the past decade. We contribute to the Bank of Canada’s research on central bank digital currency by monitoring Canadians’ use of cash and their adoption of digital payment methods.
Using the Bank of Canada's Currency Information Management Strategy, we analyze the network structure traced by a bank note’s travel in circulation and find that the denomination of the bank note is important in our potential understanding of the demand and use of cash.
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.