Canada has been adjudged number one in the ranking of world’s most cashless societies, according to studies as reported by the Canadian Huffington Post.
Various studies suggest that Canada is moving towards a cashless society faster than anyone else and that going cashless boosts an economy since businesses and consumers would save time, and cash-based crime would be reduced.
Specifically, a study from trading site Forex Bonuses, named Canada the most advanced country in the world when it comes to cashless payments, narrowly edging out Sweden and the U.K.
The study looked at six elements of a cashless world: credit cards per person; debit cards per person; the share of cards that are contactless; the rate of growth of cashless payments; the share of payments made using non-cash methods; and the public’s awareness of their non-cash options.
Canada came out on top because of its reliance on plastic; there are more than two credit cards per person in Canada, Forex Bonuses noted.
However, it was Sweden that led the way when it came to actual digital payments. There, 59 percent of payments are non-cash, compared to 57 percent in Canada, Forex Bonuses said.
The second study carried out for Visa by think tank Roubini ThoughtLab, looked at 100 cities worldwide and identified Toronto and Ottawa as “digital leaders” in the payments field.
“The use of digital technologies, from smartphones and wearables to artificial intelligence and driverless cars, is rapidly transforming how city dwellers shop, travel, and live,” Lou Celi, head of Roubini ThoughtLab, said in a statement.
“Without a firm foundation in electronic payments, cities will not be able to fully capture their digital future, according to our analysis.”
Going cashless would give the economy a boost as businesses and consumers would save time, and cash-based crime would be reduced, the study predicted.
Across the 100 cities studied, consumers and businesses would save 3.2 billion hours of time between today and 2032, thanks to faster digital payments. The economic “net benefits” from moving to more digital payments would amount to US$470 billion in that time for those 100 cities.
On average, cities’ economies would be about 3 percent larger by then than they would have been, had the switch to digital payments not happened, the study found.
That would be enough to create 12,000 new jobs in Toronto and about 3,100 new jobs in Ottawa between today and 2032, the Roubini ThoughtLab study estimated.
“This study demonstrates the substantial upside for consumers, businesses, and governments as cities move toward greater adoption of digital payments,” Visa’s vice chairperson, and chief risk officer said in a statement.
“Societies that substitute digital payments for cash see benefits from greater economic growth, less crime, more jobs, higher wages, and increased worker productivity.”
However, there are privacy and safety concerns as not everyone is happy about a move away from cash.
In a survey earlier this year from Payments Canada, only about half of Canadians said they were ready to move to a cashless world.
Many have expressed concerns about privacy and the safety of personal information online. The recent hack at ratings agency Equifax, which exposed the personal data of at least 145 million Americans and some 8,000 Canadians, highlights the problems with personal finances in the digital age.
Still, the Payments Canada survey showed many Canadians about 48 percent are willing to sacrifice some degree of privacy in exchange for the convenience of cashless payments.