Consumer advocacy group pushes back against growing trend towards a cashless Canada

By James Risdon

Cash’s reign as king in the marketplace is slowly coming to an end as consumers increasingly pay with debit and credit cards – and apps on their cell phones – and Canada moves ever closer to the nightmare of many numismatists.

The cashless society.

“It would be absolutely devastating for the hobbyists and the businesses,” says Michael Findlay, president of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND).

Coin collectors want to be able to go to stores, look over the coins and banknotes in person, and pay for them there, he says.

But a report by the Quebec-based Option Consommateurs consumer advocacy group warns the world of Star Trek where people no longer use money at all – meaning no more coins and banknotes in circulation – may be a lot closer than many people think.

In that report, Will Cash Soon Be A Thing Of The Past?, the organization says the use of cash is in rapid decline in Canada and gradually being replaced by electronic payment methods, mostly credit and debit cards.

“Although the phenomenon is as yet only marginal, a trend towards abandoning cash transactions is also under way in Canada’s retail trade,” writes Option Consommateurs’ Alexandre Plourde in that report.

In its The Future Of Digital Payments Is Here report last year, the Canadian payment clearing and settlement system organization Payments Canada confirmed more and more people are paying digitally and bypassing cash altogether.

“Emerging digital payment methods (such as ‘buy now, pay later’, digital credit or debit cards, cryptocurrency, contactless smartphone mobile wallet and biometric payment technologies) were used more in 2022 compared to 2021 as more businesses offered these payment options and features to consumers,” wrote Payments Canada senior analyst Stephen Yun in that report.

“Businesses see further payment innovation as a key factor in supporting their financial wellbeing.”

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