Cash no longer king: More Canadians turning to digital payment
Ross McLaughlin & Carly Yoshida, CTV Vancouver
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2016 6:00AM PDT
Canadians are embracing new digital payment methods, but the convenience can come at a high price.
Digital payment systems, which can include apps, credit cards and so-called “wallet” payment systems, can potentially lead to increased spending and opportunities for identity theft.
A recent survey from Moneris, Canada’s leading card processing company, shows that 67 per cent of consumers aged 18 to 34 use digital technology to pay at the cash register and 49 per cent of seniors have also embraced the new technology.
The survey also found that 59 per cent of Canadians prefer to use their credit cards and 55 per cent prefer using debit cards when paying. But about 45 per cent of those surveyed still prefer using cash.
New cashless payment systems are also being developed that only require a fingerprint. Sam’s Club in the U.S. also has an app that allows users to scan merchandise and pay for purchases as they walk through the store without even stopping at a cash register.
But Jeffrey Schwartz, the executive director of Consolidated Credit says that digital payment systems increase the ability to spend impulsively, so consumers should be careful.
“If you’re going to pay this way, you might want to think about setting limits,” said Schwartz.
He also cautions that many credit cards can have high interest rates that will create more debt if the balance isn’t paid in full at the end of the month.
More companies are also offering their own branded payment apps like Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Walmart and Uber, which can build loyalty and offer rewards. But Margaret Gilman with Consumer Reports warns that these payment systems can collect data about us that we may not realize.
“Mobile payments can generate a mountain of digital data that can tell lots about us that we may not want people to know,” said Gilman.
These systems can also create opportunities for hackers, so it can be a good idea to link the payments to a credit card rather than a bank account since it can offer greater protection from potential fraud.
But Schwartz recommends that for people who are spending too much, it can be a good idea to switch back to using cash so you can keep better track of your finances.
“These retailers are ending up in a situation where perhaps people are spending more, which is a great thing for them. However, it might be pushing people into debt,” he said.