Canadian consumers and businesses continue to embrace digitalisation

Canadian consumers and businesses are continuing to embrace the digitalisation of payments according to new data by Interac Corp.

The firm outlined that businesses are utilising digital methods of payments for every aspect of the payment space. 

It detailed a record-setting 61.3 million Interac e-Transfer transactions took place in April, a time when the digital focus was accelerated due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

William Keliehor, Chief Commercial Officer, Interac Corp commented: “This digital shift isn’t unexpected, but crisis situations compress timelines and Canadians are quickly seeking out secure and convenient digital payment options adhering to physical distancing recommendations. 

“COVID-19 is accelerating a new era in payments driven by the changing needs of Canadians and Canadian businesses, and for many, these convenient ways to pay will have a stickiness factor that will influence a long-term shift in behaviour.”

Keliehor added: “Businesses and consumers are discovering new ways to transact and manage their finances: from sending money to a neighbour for grocery sharing, to the small food establishments accepting Interac e-Transfer transactions and selling baked goods from the kitchen. 

“When it comes to small businesses, these behaviour changes are helping those that, now more than ever, need efficiencies and cost-savings to power operations, serve customers, and compete in a digital economy.”

Interac data shows that since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Canadians have increasingly opted for digital solutions over cash and cheques, with many for the first time. Since mid-March, first-time Interac e-Transfer users increased by 43 per cent and the average number of transactions increased by nine per cent compared to the same time last year. 

While Canadians were using these methods regularly pre-pandemic, a surge in growth of new users on the Interac e-Transfer platform suggests that the shift to digital will last beyond pandemic measures.

Canadian businesses are also adapting to pandemic restrictions using digital payment solutions. Since mid-March, businesses have been receiving 35 per cent more Interac e-Transfer transactions than expected. Canadian businesses are shifting to digital payment solutions for everyday transactions like paying suppliers, or small businesses using the platform to accept payments in place of cash or cheques.

Offering Interac Flash, Interac Debit for In-App and In-Browser Payments and Interac e-Transfer as payment methods allows some businesses with physical distancing restrictions to continue to serve customers.

Expert Analysis: The current global health crisis has elevated the momentum of contactless payments and the digitalisation of the industry. When the world recovers the growth of contactless payments may well transcend to the post-COVID payment industry.