Canadians continued to expand their use of online transfers, contactless payments and mobile transactions in 2021, according to Payments Canada’s annual Canadian Payment Methods and Trends report.
Credit and debit card use continue to dominate the number of transactions, while cash and cheque use continued to decline. Those trends were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The total Canadian payment market grew by 15% in value in 2021, and by 4% in volume. Online transfers are still only 5% of overall payment volume, but use grew by 26% over the past year.
The report indicates that half of Canadians use e-commerce platforms more frequently than before the pandemic.The value of e-commerce sales transactions for the first three months of 2021 were double those of the first three months of 2020, before the pandemic reduced in-person shopping options. Contactless payment transaction value (up 18%) and mobile payment value (up 13%) also showed significant growth. The value of online transfers exceeded debit cards for the first time in 2021.
The report also found that 37% of Canadians are comfortable using fingerprint, facial or voice recognition to authenticate payment transactions and 22% are comfortable using QR (quick response) codes.
Merchants reported growing acceptance of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) alternatives, with almost half interested in offering it, and 8% already accepting it. The report identified a number of ways businesses used or explored to make online purchasing easier, including digital platforms, PayPal and BNPL acceptance, and QR codes.