Cash only? Customers may walk away

Moneris/Leger survey says Canadians are carrying cash less and less

Payment solution company Moneris says having a “cash only” sign at the register will have customers heading for the exit.

Its new survey found that 77% of respondents prefer to pay with credit or debit than with cash. Almost half of respondents (48%) have actually left a store that didn’t accept cards because they didn’t have enough cash to buy what they wanted. And among those under 45-years old, that figure rises to 59%.

“Increasingly, Canadians are simply not carrying cash,” said Jeff Guthrie, chief sales and relationship officer at Moneris. “That must leave a sinking feeling in [a retailer’s] stomach if someone wants to buy something and leaves their store without buying it because they don’t have a way to pay for it.”

The preference for cards over cash isn’t limited to the youth demographic. The survey found that 66% of those 55+ said they rarely buy anything with cash anymore. Among those 35-44, that figure was 72%. It was also notably higher in Quebec, where 76% of respondents said they rarely use cash to make purchases.

For newsstands and coffee shops, where transactions are typically small, around half of respondents said cash is the most convenient way to pay. For restaurants, 61% said debit or credit cards are the most convenient way to pay, but only 40% said their choice of restaurant is affected by whether it accepts card payments. According to Moneris, people prefer cards, but if the food’s good enough, they’ll deal with the inconvenience of paying with cash. And when it comes to grocery stores, only 12% see cash as being more convenient than card.

The survey also found that contactless payments are popular with consumers, but mobile payments are still rare. Forty-three per cent of respondents said they like to use contactless payments when possible. But only one in four (22%) are interested in using mobile payments in-store, ranging from 35% of those 18-34 to 9% of those 65+.

“Within the near future, when Apple Pay come to Canada along with other mobile payments, that’s going to be what really pushes contactless payment,” said Guthrie.

The survey had 1,542 respondents across Canada and was conducted by Leger in English and French.

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