With more people working from home due to COVID-19 restrictions since March, activities such as shopping and other payments have increasingly moved online and the amount of electronic payments has grown drastically compared to 2019. Debit card usage in the last three months is much higher than it was in 2019 while credit card usage remains roughly on par, the latest Scotiabank Economics analysis of customer retail transaction data shows. In the months before the pandemic, credit card and debit card usage had seen similar levels of growth. But, after a steep drop in March as Canadians flocked to Automatic Bank Machines to take out bills, consumers began shunning cash and using their cards, but turning to debit more. Consumers may be being cautious about splurging and paying off their debt while cash balances in bank accounts rise, given various government support measures such as CERB, and relatively fewer opportunities for people to spend their money.
Read the latest Scotiabank Economics report here.