For the first time in Canada, contactless payments accounted for the majority of card-present transactions, according to payments solutions provider Moneris Solutions Corp.
Its MonerisMetrics Quarterly Report stated that in the first quarter of 2019, contactless payments (including tap-enabled cards, mobile devices and wearables) accounted for 51.5% of total transactions, a 24.7% increase year-over-year.
“It shows how much Canadians have adopted contactless payment method over everything else,” says Jeff Guthrie, chief sales and marketing officer at Moneris. “We’ve seen it coming and now pretty much all merchants in Canada accept contactless. People really do expect it to be there because they love the convenience of it.”
Eight provinces are leading the way in contactless: Prince Edward Island (59.2%), Manitoba (58.2%), Nova Scotia (55.2%), Ontario (54%), B.C. (53.5%), Alberta (52.1%), Saskatchewan (51.6%) and New Brunswick (51%).
One contributing factor to the surge in contactless is the rise of digital wallets such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. “It started slowly, but it’s starting to ramp up as people realize they can just use their phone rather than reach into their pocket and get their card out,” says Guthrie. “And if you scan the checkout lines, what does everyone have in their hand? Their phone. Most people aren’t holding their wallet in their hand.”
The report also found that overall credit and debit spending moderately grew at 2.5%. Across Canada, Alberta (+0.7%), Saskatchewan (+0.6%) and Newfoundland (-2.9%) saw the lowest growth rates in the country.
“If you look at the fourth quarter of 2018, spending started to fall off,” says Guthrie. “What we’re seeing is people continue to buy the things they need to buy. There’s probably a little more caution on discretionary spending.”