Canadians Still Love Cash

Especially at convenience stores, Canadian consumers prefer paying with dollars and cents.

June 15, 2018

OTTAWA, Ontario – Canadian consumers have a distinct preference for paying with cash, especially at convenience stores, reports. The nation’s nearly 26,000 convenience stores serve 10 million customers daily. Those customers like to buy their tobacco, snack items, beverages and lottery tickets with cash, according to Satinder Chera, president of the Canadian Convenience Store Association.

This preference means that, at least when it comes to convenience stores, the country isn’t poised to ditch cash anytime soon. “There’s still a strong cash component for paying for such items,” Chera said. “Going to a cashless society? … I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

For many small businesses, cash continues to be an acceptable form of payment in Canada, even as some American restaurants opt for cashless transactions. With two-thirds or more of Canadian convenience retailers independently owned and operated, it can be expensive to accept card or other forms of electronic payments—much like it is for their U.S. counterparts. “Technology is obviously a double-edged sword,” Chera said. “There’s a certain convenience to it, [but] at the same time, there’s also a cost.”

Chera noted that small businesses often prefer cash over credit or debit cards, but that most also accept electronic transactions. “Nobody can afford to turn away a customer,” he said. “If you walk into any convenience store, you should be able to pay cash and also by electronic means.”