Studies have identified Canada as the world's leading cashless society. This means more than just cutting out paper money. Most Canadians have credit cards, but they are pushing beyond to adopt new technologies and grow their digital payments footprint. Today's businesses operating in Canada must stay on top of this trend and prepare to accept more forms of digital payments.
Canada's Move Away From Cash
Canadian consumers have been moving away from cash for some time. Today, they spend over $300 trillion on their credit cards every year. This has led many businesses to move away entirely from accepting cash payments; the inconvenience that cash creates just isn't worth the number of customers who insist on paying that way.
In terms of the number of transactions, debit cards currently lead the way in Canada. Overall, card payments now account for 64% of all transactions in Canada, a number that continues to steadily rise every year. While plenty of people still use cash, the level at which they do so is diminishing quickly.
Adopting Mobile More Quickly
Part of the reason for these trends is that technology is making electronic payments more convenient all the time. With 69% of Canadians using smartphones, mobile payment technology has driven growth in this area. Canadian consumers are taking advantage of the move from swiping or inserting cards to merely waving or tapping their card or smartphone to process payments quickly.
With this convenience more readily available than ever, the idea of going back to handing over bills and making change seems almost quaint. Younger consumers in particular flock to the new technology, as these payment methods have now been available for most of a young adult's lifetime. Developers are creating and adapting new apps and payment methods, with some gaining footholds or forming partnerships while the industry matures.
Canada's Payments Future
The movement in Canada today points to a future of fewer and fewer cash transactions. The challenge for businesses is not to determine whether to move to cashless storefronts, but when they can be ready to embrace them. Part of the challenge is ensuring the technology is in place to not only process but protect these transactions. Convenience, if you are not careful, creates security concerns. Working with a processing partner that stays ahead of potential problems is critical.
The other challenge is to sort through the various options available to consumers and be prepared to accept most payment methods in use. This means you need to assess your customers and how they pay—both online and in-store, domestically and abroad. You should have a processing system flexible enough to accept a wide variety, to keep you from losing sales due to technical incapacity.
The future of payment processing in Canada is bright, if you are adapting to the clear direction the country and the world are moving. Make sure you are not caught off guard, or you will be left behind.