Report: 50 percent of Canadians “somewhat” anxious about the arrival of e-wallets

Mobile Payments

Canadians seem willing to embrace the digital payment revolution that is underway, with many ready to drop cheques and cash, according to a new study conducted by Payments Canada and Leger Marketing.

Payments Canada conducted the Payments Pulse survey with 1,507 Canadians between March 23 and April 2, 2017 using an online panel. The survey looked at Canadians’ attitudes and behaviours towards the digitization of payment transactions, how they feel about moving towards a “paperless” payments system, and how safe and secure they feel about new innovations in payments.

The survey revealed that 66 percent of Canadian respondents are willing to let go of cheques, and 50 percent are willing to move away from using cash and coins, and instead use electronic payment systems available through mobile devices.

“This data demonstrates a natural ambivalence around emerging technological advancements in payments but endorsement from early adopters, which often signifies a tipping point.”
– Gerry Gaetz, CEO of Payments Canada

Payments Canada’s survey also indicated that of the 13 percent of Canadians who have adopted e-wallets, 83 percent say convenience is the greatest benefit. Payments Canada suggested that while users of electronic payments methods appreciate the convenience, the 13 percent figure shows that “very few Canadians have adopted such innovations to date.”

When it comes to whether Canadians are willing to pay fees for convenient, electronic payment methods, 70 percent of respondents said they are not willing to pay a fee. While Canadians may not want to pay a fee, the survey revealed that 48 percent are willing to trade a certain amount of privacy.

“Canadians are split when it comes to their willingness to give up some level of privacy for convenient payment systems,” the survey’s report reads.

It isn’t entirely surprising that some Canadians are willing to trade a certain amount of privacy for convenient digital payment methods, especially as the study highlighted that Canadians’ existing practices show that they feel secure and satisfied with providing personal information to digital payment tools.

When it comes to Canadians’ existing financial practices, the survey found that 27 percent of Canadian respondents have deposited a cheque using their smartphone camera, with a 97 percent satisfaction rate. When shopping online, 41 percent have stored their personal credit card information in a mobile app or online ecommerce site. Nine in 10 of these respondents are confident in the security of these tools.

In its survey, Payments Canada also looked at how excited or anxious people are about changes in the financial services industry. It found that 50 percent of Canadian respondents said they were somewhat to very anxious about the arrival of e-wallets, but showed that almost two-thirds of respondents are even more anxious about tech like artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.

Overall, Payments Canada’s survey suggested that Canadians are willing to embrace the changes and modernization that is taking place in the payments and financial transactions space. While adoption rates of new technologies may remain low, there is some degree of endorsement and openness to change from early adopters.

“As we modernize the Canadian payments system, it is important to regularly take the pulse on the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians,” said Gerry Gaetz, CEO of Payments Canada. “This data demonstrates a natural ambivalence around emerging technological advancements in payments but endorsement from early adopters, which often signifies a tipping point. This is an important insight for Payments Canada and our financial institution participants as we collaborate on the future of Canadian payments.”

View the survey’s detailed results here.

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.