12 Stats that Show How COVID-19 Has Shifted Payment Preferences


Results from a recent Payments Canada survey indicate how consumer payment preferences have and will continue to shift as a result of the pandemic. Overall, the results indicate a payments industry poised for strong growth in digital and contactless payments.

12 key stats in the report indicate consumer payment preferences: 

  • 44% reported preferring using digital and contactless payments long term
  • 57% reported using less cash; 32% used less cheques
  • 34% reported they don’t expect to return to using cash payments at pre-pandemic levels
  • 47% reported tapping their debit and credit cards more often than pre-pandemic
  • 40% reported being uncomfortable having to touch debit or credit card payment machines
  • 36% reported avoiding places that don’t accept contactless payments
  • 50% reported they try to not exceed the contactless limit when buying something in store
  • 25% reported using e-transfers more; 35% reported using credit more; 21% more for debit
  • 48% reported using e-commerce platforms more often than pre-pandemic levels

While the survey did show consumers might be inclined to use prepaid less (respondents reported using prepaid 32% less), this is likely to be a result of consumers who might prefer, but might not have access to, digital payments, which has been a larger conversation in the prepaid ecosystem. As prepaid continues to get integrated deeper into the digital payments ecosystem, these figures are likely to shift with consumer payment preference and usage. 2020 consumer payment preferences show the need for larger conversations around accessibility and digital payments, and evaluating what populations might be being left behind.

Read more about 2020 payments trends in Payments Futures year-in-review.

“There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate the adoption of digital and contactless payments with a widespread shift away from paper-based payments,” Cyrielle Chiron, Head of Research and Strategic Foresight, Payments Canada, said in a news release.

“This is a trend we have seen over a number of years, including through Payments Canada’s recently released Canadian Payments: Methods and Trends 2020 report that showed a surge in electronic payments, which represented around 77 percent of all transactions in 2019. The reality is that Canadian consumers and businesses want more efficient, faster and more secure payment options, so we can expect this trend to continue long-term with a focus on payments innovation.”

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