ACNielsen Canada, an operating unit of ACNielsen Corporation, reported that cash is still the preferred retail payment method among Canadian adults. According to the recent telephone survey of 2,000 primary household grocery shoppers age 18 or older, cash was used in six out of their past 10 retail transactions. Debit cards were used for three transactions, while credit cards accounted for one transaction. Cheques and all other available payment methods were used in just two percent of all retail transactions.
Each payment method was used most often by different demographic and geographic groups. Younger consumers used debit cards more frequently than other groups, with the highest use reported in Quebec and in the Prairies. Credit cards registered the highest usage rates among baby boomers, especially those living in Western Canada. Use of both debit and credit cards was highest among more educated and wealthier consumers. Less educated, poorer and older consumers were most likely to use cash.
According to Tim Hodapp, vice president of ACNielsen DJC Research, consumers clearly have safety concerns about payment cards. “In the eyes of the consumers, no payment method is absolutely safe, but they are especially concerned about debit and credit cards. Thirty-nine percent of all respondents said they were either concerned or very concerned about the safety of debit cards — perhaps a result of recent publicity about debit card scams. Thirty-six percent reported safety concerns about credit cards.”
Concern over debit cards was highest in Quebec (47.7 percent). As for credit card safety, residents of the Prairies registered the most concern (40.8 percent).
ACNielsen, offering services in over 100 countries and with 1998 revenues of $1.4 billion, is the global leader in delivering market research, information and analysis to the consumer products and service industries. ACNielsen Canada is based in Markham, Ontario, with regional offices in Vancouver and Montreal.