Canadians are making more purchases using contactless ‘tap and pay’ technology

TORONTO — Consumer spending in Canada grew by 6.24 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 on a year-over-year basis, according to the MonerisMetrics Quarterly Report released by Moneris Solutions Corporation (Moneris), one of North America’s largest processors of debit and credit payments. The first quarter of 2015 also showed growth of 5.78 per cent.

“So far, the increases we are seeing in 2016 fall in line with the growth trends we have observed for the past year-and-a-half,” said Angela Brown, President and CEO of Moneris. “We are now moving into a period where we are building upon growth from the year before, which is an encouraging sign for Canadian businesses.”

Following a flat period in 2014, Moneris has recorded six consecutive quarters of positive spending increases. All four quarters of 2015 saw growth of between five and seven per cent. Moneris’ findings this quarter are consistent with positive economic indicators released by Statistics Canada showing GDP growth in January1 along with an uptick in retail sales,2 and employment increases in March.

Consumer spending rose by 5.89 per cent in January, 9.03 per cent in February and 4.42 per cent in March, compared to the first three months of 2015. All provinces posted year-over-year increases during the quarter, with the exception of Alberta. Nova Scotia posted the largest increase (11.65%) followed by New Brunswick (10.40%). The oil-producing provinces posted growth below the national average; spending in Alberta declined by 2.99 per cent and Saskatchewan saw an increase of 1.08 per cent.

Credit card spending increased by 8.36 per cent over the first quarter of 2015, holding a 64.66 per cent share of purchases made. Debit sales rose by 2.57 per cent, representing a 35.34 per cent share of total card spending.

Popularity of contactless payments growing

The popularity of contactless (tap and pay) continued to grow in Q1, with consumers increasingly tapping their cards in front of contactless-capable terminals or holding up their smartphones to use mobile wallets such as Apple Pay. 25.44 per cent of all transactions were contactless, compared with 14.71 per cent of transactions during the same period last year. The total amount spent through contactless transactions increased by 108.84 per cent, marking nearly one year of steady triple digit growth in contactless spending volumes.

“Canadians have been quick to embrace the speed, convenience and security of tapping their cards,” said Brown. “This comfort on the part of consumers, coupled with the payment infrastructure we have built here in Canada, in which most terminals can accept contactless transactions, sets us up well to take advantage of the new mobile payment options entering the market.”

Low dollar fuels foreign spending

With the low Canadian dollar continuing to provide tourists with a favourable exchange rate, spending on foreign cards increased 17.45 per cent year over year. Data showed that cards from the U.S. drove the highest foreign spending volumes during the quarter.

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