More Than Half of Canadian Consumers to Abandon Cash by 2020, According to Global Research Report

  • Global research from Paysafe reveals that 51 percent of Canadians don’t expect to carry cash by 2020
  • 56 percent of Canadians have used an ATM once or less in the last month

MONTREAL--()--More than half (51 percent) of Canadian consumers expect to abandon cash by 2020, according to Lost in Transaction, a new research report conducted by Paysafe, a leading global payments provider. The report uncovered the rapid move towards a cash-free economy with half (56 percent) of Canadian consumers only visiting an ATM once a month and nearly one in five (19 percent) saying they rarely carry cash at all, with this figure rising to a quarter of 18-34 year olds. With the research showing two thirds (64 percent) of people rely less on cash than a year ago, the move away from physical currency looks set to continue.

The comprehensive study, undertaken in Canada, the US, and the UK, looks at attitudes to money and consumer buying behaviour, and examines how cash is merging with digital formats. It reveals increased consumer confidence in mobile shopping, the start of a shift to new payment methods such as cryptocurrencies and the potential for retailers to lose relevance without the right payment mix for customers.

The evolution of cash into digital formats is enabling consumers to move away from carrying hard currency. Contactless paved the way for this move in Canada, with nearly three out of five (58 percent) consumers having used it for payment, and 71 percent citing contactless as more convenient than cash. Nearly half (48 percent) went as far as to state they preferred to shop in places that accepted contactless. However, Canadians have not yet embraced cutting edge technologies as emphatically as consumers in the US and the UK, with one in ten (9 percent) having used cryptocurrencies (9 percent) and one in seven (14 percent) using mobile wallets.

There are several hurdles to overcome before a more widespread adoption of digital cash, with 64 percent of Canadians worrying about the security of contactless, and half (50 percent) of consumers concerned that they will be charged the wrong amount when using it. There are also more basic security issues to overcome for mobile wallets with significant concerns around people’s handsets. A third (34 percent) of people said they worried about their phone being stolen, while more than a quarter (28 percent) did not even want to take their cell phone out to pay. This is despite more than half (53 percent) saying they are increasingly confident about using their phone for shopping.

“In an industry as fast moving as payments, the future is here every day. It’s our younger generations that are forging the path to a cash-free society, and there is no doubt that the introduction of contactless and mobile payments, such as Android Pay’s entry to the Canadian market earlier this year, have been a driving force,” said Daniel Kornitzer, Chief Product Officer at Paysafe.

“As the line between online and offline blurs, the conventional commerce model is shifting dramatically, mediated by technology but driven by changing consumer expectation. Merchants need to invest in emerging technologies to stay ahead of consumer demand.”

Cross-market comparisons:

      Canada     US     UK
Average amount of cash people carry in their wallet    

$50 or


£20 or

Percentage of people using mobile wallets     16%     31%     24%
Percentage of people using cryptocurrencies     9%     14%     12%
Percentage of people who dual browse (use a mobile to browse & buy online while in a shop)     41%     55%     41%
Percentage of people who have written a cheque in the last month     40%     50%     30%

Those using mobile wallets provided the following information:

      Canada     US     UK
Percentage of people who would pay for higher priced items using a mobile wallet if limits were raised     81%     77%     82%
Percentage of people stating paying by mobile is more convenient than using cash     87%     81%     84%
Percentage of people stating paying by mobile is more convenient than using contactless     83%     80%     77%

The research demonstrates that it’s essential that businesses accommodate both traditional and emerging payments technologies when accepting and processing payments. That journey starts with merchants understanding how consumers use money, where they use it and which formats they prefer, as consumers expect to be catered for when parting with their money.

To read the full report, which includes comparisons between consumer attitudes to cash and alternative payment methods in the Canada, US, and UK, click here.

About Lost in Transaction
Lost in Transaction is an independent research project supported by the London-based agency Loudhouse. The research report was completed by surveying 3038 general consumers in the UK, Canada and the US about their online shopping behaviours and payment habits. Respondents came from six different age groups and a variety of different professions.

About Paysafe
Paysafe is a leading global provider of end-to-end payment solutions. Our core purpose is to enable businesses and consumers to connect and transact seamlessly through our industry-leading capabilities in payment processing, digital wallets and online cash solutions. Delivered through an integrated platform, our solutions are geared towards mobile-initiated transactions, real-time analytics and the convergence between bricks-and-mortar and online payments. With over 20 years of online payment experience, a combined transactional volume of US$48 billion in 2016 and over 2,300 staff located in 12 global locations, Paysafe connects businesses and consumers across 200 payment types in over 40 currencies around the world. Paysafe Group plc shares trade on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol (PAYS.L). For more information, visit:

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Paysafe Group plc
Amy Gregus, +1 514-294-0247
Head of Corporate Communications, North America

Release Summary

Global research from Paysafe reveals that 51 percent of Canadians don’t expect to carry cash by 2020


Paysafe Group plc
Amy Gregus, +1 514-294-0247
Head of Corporate Communications, North America