Moneywise: Canadian consumers want easy purchase transactions

Canadian consumers, it seems, want to purchase things in the easiest way possible, and if they can’t have it they will walk away from the transaction, whether in a store or online.

That’s the main theme of a recent study on consumer behaviour by Payment Canada. The study found that 53 per cent of Canadians are not committed at check out and are walking away from a purchase if their preferred method of payment is not available to them.

“The high abandonment rates at check-out suggest there is a high cost of not integrating faster, more convenient payment technologies,” Gerry Gaetz, president and CEO of Payments Canada said in a news release. “Canadian consumers are speaking with their wallets, indicating that they will not buy from those businesses that don’t make the payment experience easy.”

The survey found that 70 per cent of Canadians who have uploaded an e-wallet such as Apple Pay used this payment type at least once since its launch in Canada.

There is also an appetite for other emerging payments that are easier, with 43 per cent of Canadians being interested in invisible or non-check-out payment options in store such as Amazon Go or Uber. One third is interested in payments via social networking apps like AllPay and WeChatPay.

Along with social networking aps, 38 per cent of Canadians are interested in using alias or token ID –an alternate identifier tied to a bank account number that can be used across multiple channels from Twitter to text messages – to pay or send money across platforms.

Some of the other findings from study include the fact that one third of Canadians have deposited a cheque using a camera or mobile app and 96 per cent of them find this convenient. Canadians living in urban neighbourhoods are more interested in payments becoming more invisible compared to suburban or rural ones.

Forty per cent of Canadians store personal credit card information with a mobile app or online ecommerce site and the vast majority (86 per cent) feel confident the app or service provider ensure the security and privacy of their personal credit card information. Millennials are the most interested in alias or token ID and almost 20 per cent of Canadians have uploaded an e-wallet app in Canada, up three per cent from 2017.

“Consumer spending methods clearly are shifting, driven largely by Millennials and Boomers,” Justin Ferrabee, Chief Operating Officer of Payments Canada, said in an interview. “A lot of retailers today are not even taking cash anymore and we are seeing a rise in e-wallets. Canadians however still have a high-degree of loyalty to their credit cards to accumulate points.”

One definition of an e- or digital wallet is a system that securely stores users’ payment information and passwords for numerous payment methods and websites. By using an e wallet, users can complete purchases easily and quickly with contactless communications technology.

E-wallets can be used in conjunction with mobile payment systems that allow consumers to pay for purchases with their smart phones. They can also be used to store loyalty card information and digital coupons.

Some other recent studies have shown that the trend to digital in virtually all areas of life and commerce is speeding up as the number of wireless subscriptions in Canada increases, mobile data usage rises and Canadians shell out more and more money for more data and faster speeds from their home internet.

Gaetz says many Canadians are getting a taste of new, more convenient digital payment platforms when they travel overseas and are expecting to see these new technologies roll out in Canada.

“Fortunately we are working with Canadian financial institutions and key government stakeholders to design and implement new payment system, rules and standards that will make it possible to introduce faster, safer and more data-rich payment options for Canada’s businesses and consumers.”

Talbot Boggs is a Toronto-based business communications professional who has worked with national news organizations, magazines and corporations in the finance, retail, manufacturing and other industrial sectors.

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