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Study: Cash is king with consumers and merchants

Bank of Canada report finds cash over credit is the preferred method of payment

A new report by Canada's central bank says Canadians favour cash payments over digital ones, especially for smaller sums of money.

The Bank of Canada report, based on two surveys conducted by the bank in 2015 and 2013, found 51% of transactions were made in cash in 2015, with debit cards coming next at 31% and credit cards last at 19%.

It noted nearly all small businesses (94%) and large businesses (98%) accept cash, and most shoppers carry physical money in their wallets.

The report found the median amount of a cash transaction is the smallest of any method at $8.04, a debit transaction is $28.33 and a credit card transaction is $43.85.

It said most merchants seem to prefer cash and debit card payments, as they are less costly to accept than credit cards. Only two-thirds of small- and medium-sized businesses accept debit and credit cards, it said, while nearly all large businesses do.

In 2014, it cost Canadian merchants $10 billion to accept payments with $6.2 billion of that incurred for credit card payments.

However, the report noted, current innovations in retail payments, like contactless cards, and future ones would likely compete with cash and even replace it.

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