The Canadian card payments channel recorded growth during the review period. In terms of the volume of cards in circulation, the card payments channel posted a review-period CAGR of 4.55%. Growth in consumer spending, a shift in consumer preference towards cashless transactions, and the increased acceptance of cards by retailers contributed to the growth of the Canadian card payments channel. The volume of cards in circulation is expected to post a forecast-period CAGR of 4.66%.
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The Canadian card payments channel has positive growth potential
The Canadian card payments channel grew substantially both in volume and value terms during the review period. In terms of the number of transactions, the channel grew at a review-period CAGR of 4.27%. Debit card transactions were the key driver, followed by charge cards. The growing demand for prepaid and credit cards among Canadian consumers also contributed to the growth of the number of transactions during the review period. Over the forecast period, total card transactions volume is expected to post a forecast-period CAGR of 3.57%.
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Consumer preference for cashless payment provides growth opportunities
Consumers are slowly moving away from cash and adopting other modes of payment such as cards and electronic fund transfers. While cash continues to be an important part of the payments system, it is increasingly being displaced by non-cash channels. The share of cash transactions fell during the review period. To capitalize on this, banks and other card issuers have been adopting various marketing and pricing strategies with the aim of encouraging customers to use card payments. Offers such as discounts, rewards points, increasing daily limits for cash withdrawals and insurance cover are common strategies that banks are employing. Growing consumer preference for cashless payments and the introduction of new card products are expected to increase the number of cards issued over the forecast period.
New government regulations to protect consumers and increase transparency
Through Bank of Canada and the Department of Finance, the Canadian government has been focusing on improving on infrastructure and legal support services to increase the efficiency of its payment systems and bring them in line with international standards. To achieve these objectives, the Department of Finance formed the Task Force for the Payments System Review in June 2010, with the objective of reviewing the Canadian payments system and providing recommendations. The Ministry of Finance implemented the Code of Conduct for the Debit and Credit Card Industry in Canada with the aim of protecting merchant and consumer interests. In addition, the government implemented a new set of regulations for the credit cards category which are intended to protect consumers by enhancing disclosure and increasing transparency. These new regulations, which came into force on January 1, 2010 and were amended on September 1, 2010, are expected to improve transparency.
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Growth in payment infrastructure supported an increase in card use
Banks and retail outlets in Canada expanded their infrastructure networks during the review period. The number of automatic teller machines (ATMs) installed increased from 57,900 in 2008 to 60,346 in 2012, at a review-period CAGR of 1.04%. The increasing acceptance of debit and credit cards at retail outlets and a consumer shift towards direct card purchases resulted in a rising number of point of sale (POS) transactions during the review period. The number of POS terminals in Canada recorded a review-period CAGR of 5.93%, rising from 630,534 terminals in 2008 to 794,000 in 2012. With a further increases in the volume of POS terminals and ATMs, the use of cards as a payment method is expected to register widespread acceptance over the forecast period.
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