In many parts of the world today, cash payments are becoming the exception rather than the norm. Most people think of Sweden as leading the charge toward a cashless society, but according to a recent survey, Canada sits today as the most cashless country. There are many reasons for this, but ultimately it points toward leadership in a broader trend among developed countries. Staying on top of these trends is key to any business operating effectively.
Canada's Move Toward Cashless
Paying in cash has long been an inconvenient—but sometimes necessary—way of doing business. Even today, some people prefer cash payments. In Canada, though, those people are becoming a smaller and older minority. Part of this is simply an effect of promotion. Young people in Canada learn early on about how to properly use credit in their lives, and by the time they go to university, they begin receiving frequent credit card offers.
Further, Canada's Automated Clearing Settlement System (ACSS) handles a large volume of the payments in the country, with 89% of those electronic. With all of these tools and promotions available, it is no wonder that Canada has made such a push in this direction. Canadians now average two credit cards for every person, with credit usage building quickly.
The World Is Moving Quickly
While Canada is a world leader, it is hardly alone. Online purchases are growing and usually require electronic rather than cash payments. In addition, younger consumers are more tech-savvy than ever before. With more apps and payment tools arriving almost daily, millennials and post-millennials have been quick to adopt what they see as more convenient options.
When the first payment apps started to appear, they tended to receive resistance from a public wary of large changes. Today, though, they are part of life, with new options added in an area people are already familiar with using. The result is a general public that accepts and uses cashless options more than ever before.
How Businesses Can Capitalize
In Canada and elsewhere, business owners know they need to accept card payments. Today, though, this by itself is not enough. You need to develop payment processing capabilities that include the major current options in your country—and in others where your online customers live. You also need to keep up with the changing landscape and be prepared to accept payments through new technologies that gain footholds.
Through it all, you also need to maintain security in your payments system. Cryptocurrencies and payment apps can be ripe ground for hackers and identity thieves, so make sure your security protocols are up to date. Your system should be adaptable enough to grow with the options available to your customers, and still protect them and you along the way. The cashless trend is not going to slow down anytime soon, so be prepared to take advantage.