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Canada Country Report

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  • Published Date: June 2021

A comprehensive analysis of the credit cards, payments, consumer banking and merchant acquirer market in Canada, with perceptive commentary on relevant data.
As both Open Banking and a new real-time payments infrastructure draw closer, this traditionally conservative market is set to undergo a drastic evolution in coming years, opening up opportunities for alternative payment activities.
For the first time, challengers and fintechs will be providing stiffer competition to the five-pillar establishment, some of whose members are already chasing alternative revenue streams engendered by Buy now, pay later and e-commerce developments.

What you can learn from this report:

  • Why increased competition is coming.
  • How BNPL is dividing incumbents.
  • What Canadians seek in credit cards.
  • Why debit has been impacted by new rules.
  • Which regulations matter the most.

Canada Cards and Payments Market Key Facts

  • Canada is a mature banking and payments market with five large domestic banks dominating.
  • Two payments systems will be replaced and a real-time payments system added in 2022.
  • Open Banking is also being developed and should incentivise the growth of digital-only challenger banks.
  • Cash use continues to decline, with many Canadians not expecting to use cash payments to the same extent as before the pandemic.
  • Cheque volume has constantly decreased, with consumer usage at a historic low.
  • Credit cards, incentivised by extensive rewards offerings, account for the bulk of the value of card purchases.
  • Operated by a bank-owned, not-for-profit company, domestic debit scheme Interac is popular for low-value transactions. It accounts for almost half of card purchase transactions.
  • The shift to digital payment solutions throughout the Covid-19 crisis is illustrated by the record transaction numbers for digital solutions such as Interac e-Transfer.
  • In 2020, Visa and Mastercard capped the average credit card interchange fee at 1.4 percent of the transaction value for five years.
  • Desjardins was the only leading credit card issuer to have a year-over-year increase in billed volume during 2020.

Canada Card Payments | Report Contents

Canada Country Report
Demographics and the economy.
Payments environment.
Cards market.
Mobile payments.
Profit pool.
The networks.
Key retail banks and issuers.
Acquiring and processing.
Online acquiring.
Regulatory and other cards market information.

Appendices: Card Payments Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators.
  • Ownership of key consumer devices.
  • Internet usage by population.

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points.
  • Account penetration.
  • Consumer payment trends.
  • B2C e-commerce payment methods.

Appendix III: Cards market

  • Total cards payment metrics.
  • Contactless cards metrics.
  • Credit card data numbers.
  • Total credit cards metrics.
  • Credit cards profitability indicators.
  • Debit card data numbers.
  • Debit cards metrics.
  • Prepaid/e-money cards metrics.

Appendix IV: Mobile payments

  • Mobile proximity payment metrics.
  • Mobile P2P payments.

Appendix V: Profit pool

  • Canada profit pool.

Appendix VI: The card networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares.
  • Networks' credit card numbers.
  • Networks' credit card billed volume.
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions.
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value.
  • Credit card interchange fees by network.
  • Networks' debit card market shares.
  • Networks' debit card data numbers.
  • Networks' debit card billed volume.
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions.
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value.
  • Debit card interchange fees by network.

Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers.
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings.
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers.

Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share.
  • Credit card merchant service charges.
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share.
  • Debit card merchant service charges.
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships.
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships.
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers.
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions.

Appendix IX: Online acquiring

  • Online merchant acquirer market share.

Canada Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy
As one would expect, Canada faces immense economic challenges because of the pandemic and the recent volatility in oil prices. The country fell into recession in mid-2020, although the economy is expected to return to growth in 2021.

Payments Environment
When it comes to cards, Canada has a balanced and inclusive market, consisting of a competitive credit cards segment and a popular low-cost domestic debit scheme. The country boasts high card ownership and widespread acceptance rates.

Payment Cards Market
This payment cards market enjoys great consumer penetration and merchant acceptance. The average Canadian adult made 384 card purchase transactions in 2020, a year-on-year decrease of 7.6% attributable to Covid lockdown restrictions.

Mobile Payments
Mobile payments have been increasing in popularity but in common with many other advanced economies, adoption is hindered by consumer indifference. Providers struggle to incentivise consumers to switch to mobile when many see cards with contactless functionality as offering comparable convenience.

Profit Pool
In common with markets around the world, Covid-19 has hurt the Canadian credit cards market. Following several years of sustained growth, credit card purchase volume shrank by 8% during 2020.

Card Networks
Canada's credit cards market is represented in the main by three global brands: Visa, Mastercard and American Express. There has been stiff competition between Visa and Mastercard, with the former leading the market on most metrics. The debit cards market is dominated by Canada's domestic debit network, Interac.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers
The retail banking market in Canada is dominated by the Big Five: RBC (Royal Bank of Canada), TD (TorontoDominion Bank), Scotiabank, CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of
Commerce) and BMO (Bank of Montreal). RBC is the largest in terms of total asset size. At the end of 2020, a total of 83 banks were operating in the country.

Acquiring and Processing
The merchant acquiring market in Canada is relatively concentrated, with the top four acquirers sharing over 90% of the market. The dominant quartet is Moneris Solutions, Global
Payments, Chase Merchant Services and TD Merchant Services.

Online Acquiring
Canada has a high internet penetration rate of over 90% and the e-commerce market is constantly growing. Verisk Financial Research estimates that around $107 billion was spent with cards at online merchants in Canada in 2020.

Regulatory and Markets Information
In Canada, supervisory responsibility for the financial sector is divided between the federal government, provincial governments and national self-regulatory organisations.

Canada Payments Trends | Entities Referenced

Air Canada
American Express
Ameublements Tanguay
Amex Bank of Canada
Amex Canada
Bank of Canada
Bank of Montreal
Best Buy
Brault & Martineau
British Airways
Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Canadian Association of University Teachers
Canadian Bar Association
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Canadian Nurses' Association
Canadian Payments Association
Canadian Tire Bank
Canadian Tire Financial Services
Capital One
Cathay Pacific
Chase Merchant Services
Chase Paymentech
Dream Payments
E-xact Transactions
FairFax Financial
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Financial Institutions Supervisory Committee
First Data
First Ontario Credit Union
Future Shop
Global Payments
Goldman Sachs
Home Depot
JPMorgan Chase
MBNA Canada
Meridian Credit Union
Moneris Solutions
National Bank
National Bank of Canada
National Data Corporation
National Hockey League
Nova Information Systems
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
Patrick Morin
Payments Canada
President's Choice Financial
Presidents Choice
Reno Depot
Restaurants Canada
Retail Council of Canada
Royal Bank of Canada
TD Merchant Services
The Bay
The Source
Toronto-Dominion Bank
University of Ottawa
University of Toronto
US Bancorp
Western Union
WestJet Airlines


Verisk Financial Research reports deliver market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit in North America. Researchers use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and North American experts.

See more North America Country Reports or explore the full range of financial research reports for 72 cards and payments markets worldwide,

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