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New Research: Canadian Consumers Shift to Embrace More Digital Payment Options

New research shows affinity for non-traditional, digital financial services grows as Canadians turn to more payment methods for different aspects of their lives

New research shows affinity for non-traditional, digital financial services grows as Canadians turn to more payment methods for different aspects of their lives

New research from the Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization (CPPO) reveals Canadian consumers have shifted to embrace digital payments and banking with a growing and significant addressable market. There is a significant “digital divide” — younger and middle-aged Canadians (under age 55) and those who identify as BIPOC are rapidly embracing non-traditional, digital financial services, at significantly higher rates than those 55 and above, to better meet their payment preferences.

The survey, which examined the usage and satisfaction levels of 1,000 Canadians with both traditional payment methods (such as credit, debit, prepaid and cash) and new offerings (such as digital wallets and mobile payments) highlights a behavioural shift among consumers toward a multi-banked approach. Canadians are using multiple payment and transaction methods for different aspects of their lives, while also seeking non-traditional financial services in favour of more mobile payment options.

“We are pleased to see the shift in consumer satisfaction toward a wide array of digital financial services and tools. Prepaid is a driver of this trend, providing a secure, nimble platform to build and innovate financial services upon. As digital transformation reshapes the Canadian consumer payments landscape, the CPPO remains committed to supporting innovation, promoting consumer choice and advocating for the continued evolution of secure, convenient and inclusive payment methods.” - CPPO Executive Director Jennifer Tramontana.

While the research found that age plays a part in awareness and use of a given payment method, payment method usage tied to digital and mobile options are gaining strength. Canadians — particularly those up to age 55 — indicate a preference for secure, convenient, flexible, low-cost payment options.

Other key consumer satisfaction and usage trends from the survey include:

  • Choice, security and value rank among the top 3 reasons why Canadians have made a switch or indicate a desire for more payment options.

  • Canadians aged 54 and under use credit and cash less frequently, opting for digital wallets, prepaid options and other digital payment methods at higher rates compared to those aged 55 and above.

  • Prepaid has surged in popularity and satisfaction as Canadians embrace digital payment methods for new use cases, including buy now, pay later (BNPL), earned wage access for gig and contract workers, third-party delivery services, digital-first accounts for transacting and saving and digital wallets for gaming and sports betting.

  • The gig economy has experienced significant growth in Canada, particularly among younger demographics, who prefer immediate payment after completing tasks or shifts to improve their financial well-being.

  • Security remains a concern for consumers, but prepaid is viewed as the safest payment option. Approximately 60% of consumers express fear using their credit and debit cards online, leading to a growing adoption of prepaid cards for online purchases due to perceived enhanced security measures.

  • Prepaid cards also demonstrate lower levels of concern regarding data security when traveling internationally, with a twenty-point difference compared to credit cards and an eighteen-point difference compared to debit cards.


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