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The acceptance of cash by Canadian merchants: Evidence from the 2021–22 Merchant Acceptance Survey
In recent years, the rise in digital payments has spurred discussion about the future of cash at the point of sale. The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to this discussion. To better understand cash acceptance and the impact of payment innovations such as mobile payments in Canada, the Bank of Canada conducted the 2021–22 Merchant Acceptance Survey Pilot Study — a survey of around 500 small and medium-sized businesses. We find that 97 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada accepted cash in 2021–22 and only 3 per cent have plans to stop accepting cash. For cards and digital payments, merchant acceptance has increased over the last few years. Therefore, cash and digital payments continue to co-exist at the point of sale, and Canada is far from being a cashless society.
The full article is available to subscribers to the journal.
Angelika Welte is a principal researcher in the Currency Economic Research and Analysis division of the Bank of Canada. She has more than a decade of experience in economic research on the adoption, use and acceptance of cash, card payments and payment innovations. Her academic credentials include a MA degree in economics (Carleton University) and a PhD in mathematics (University of Ottawa).
Joy Wu is a research assistant in the Currency Economic Research and Analysis division at the Bank of Canada. She joined the Bank after obtaining her HBSc in statistics (University of Toronto) and is currently pursuing her MSc in analytics (Georgia Institute of Technology).