Canadian Payment Trends in 2024

By Remitbee - Jan 11, 2024

Payment methods evolve with advancements in technology, lifestyle changes, and trends. Global events like the pandemic and an increased cyberspace presence have also served as catalysts in the payments game.

The change can be exemplified by the declining need for physical cash payments in the Digital age with the mass adoption of digital payment methods like mobile wallets, contactless payment cards, and e-transfers driving cash payments to the periphery.

The innovation around these digital payment methods has led to increasing options and features for Businesses and consumers engaged in B2C, B2B, or P2P exchanges.

The Canadian Payment Methods and Trends Report 2023, published by Payments Canada, compiles datasets in collaboration with Canadian payment service providers, consultants, and researchers.

The findings over a five-year period from 2017 to 2022 were:

  • Cash transaction volumes decreased by 59% from 24% of the total volume of transactions in 2017 to 10% in 2022.
  • Cheque transaction volumes decreased by 45% from 4% to 2% of all transactions in 2022.
  • Online transfers experienced an exponential increase in volume of 328% in the past five years. However, they remain a small part of all payments (from 1% to 5% in 2022).
  • Credit became the most popular payment method, accounting for 33% of all payment volume in 2022.

Credit and Debit card volumes and values were the highest and top payment methods for in-store and online purchases in Canada.

After passing debit card transactions for the first time in 2021, Online transfers continued to widen the gap - increasing 19% year-over-year to $387 billion in transaction value, while the transaction value of debit cards increased 8% to $295 billion for the same period.

Cheque and cash payments also retained their volumes mainly through peer-to-peer payments due to lessening concerns over COVID-19 transmission risks and the daily limits imposed on online payment methods like Interac e-Transfers (daily limit $3,000 and $10,000 weekly).


Cash payments refuse to go out of fashion for their practicality, reliability, and physical nature. It has been making a comeback after the pandemic, especially for low-value transactions. They remain a popular form of payment for the older demographic, unbanked sectors, individuals with less formal education, and lower income groups.

According to the Canadian Payment Methods and Trends Report 2023, it was the fourth most used payment method behind credit cards, debit cards, and electronic fund transfers. The trend is unlikely to reverse in 2024.

Cheque and paper

Cheques have been relegated to business use, with low volume but higher-valued transactions. Its decreased usage can be attributed to the Bank of Canada’s quantitative tightening policies to combat inflation, which has curtailed the volume of outgoing loans and investments and, in turn, led to fewer cheque payments.

Its usage in 2024 may depend on the inflation situation and the BoC’s decision to pull back on its tightening policy.

Debit and Credit Cards

As two of the most used payment methods, representing 31% and 33% of all payment volume in 2022, the ‘card’ method is here to stay. Cards, and more specifically credit cards, are preferred for their loyalty rewards and attractive ‘buy now, pay later’ features, with inflation also necessitating their increased usage for food and gas purchases. Cards continue to service most payments in Canada, including home and auto insurance, internet, cell phone, cable, and contractor services.

Contactless Payments

As suggested by its name, contactless payments allow transactions for goods and services without contact, often requiring the customer to tap or wave their card over a reader to complete a purchase. It came into its own during the pandemic when minimal contact was all the fuss.

Grocery stores and supermarkets have seen the most usage of contactless card payments, with most Canadians forgoing even convenient smartphone-based in-store mobile payment systems for contactless card payments.

Another contactless method, the QR code, has been introduced in many Canadian retail outlets but has yet to gain ground over the other established payment forms.

Electronic Fund Transfers

EFTs include direct deposits, electronic remittances, pre-authorized debits, and other online bill payment transactions. Its most loyal users swear by its speed, convenience, and ease of tracking expenses. The volume of EFT transfers in Canada is mainly linked to Federal benefits deposits. It is fair to say that this payment trend will continue to flourish in the coming years.

Online Transfers, Interac e-Transfers, and P2P Payments

Online transfers have penetrated most public and business institutions, facilitated by a growing online presence and service providers like e-Transfer and Paypal. They are among the fastest-growing payment methods, surpassing EFTs in volume, with a five-year growth rate of 34% and 33% by volume and value between 2017 and 2022.

2024 looks set to be another year for Interac e-Transfer, which has already established itself as the leading method for peer-to-peer transfers in Canada and sending remittances abroad through service providers like Remitbee.


The payment landscape in Canada is on a transformative journey, marked by the widespread adoption of contactless payments, the rise of digital wallets, and increased usage of payment services like Interac e-Transfers.

As technology advances and consumer preferences evolve, the Canadian payment ecosystem will likely witness further innovation, providing individuals and businesses with more efficient, secure, and personalized financial solutions in 2024 and beyond.