2019 Canada PaymentsInsights – Credit Cards: Leading the Charge


Canadian Consumers Prefer to Pay with Credit Cards. Mercator Advisory Group’s newly launched survey in Canada reveals that Canadian consumers are most likely to choose a credit card when it’s time to pay.

Author: Peter Reville
Published on: November 22, 2019

Mercator Advisory Group latest research report presents the findings of a new consumer survey of Canadian consumers. The report, Credit Cards: Leading the Charge, from Mercator’s North American PaymentsInsights survey series, reveals that the credit card is the preferred method of payment both online and offline.

This year marks the first year that Mercator has conducted the PaymentsInsights surveys in Canada. The PaymentsInsights series began in the U.S. a decade ago.

When shopping in stores, 55% of Canadian consumers prefer to use credit/charge cards, followed by 27% who prefer to use debit and only 12% who opt for cash. When shopping online one-half (49%) prefer to use a credit card, and another 12% prefer an online payment service like PayPal.

Canadian consumers report that they are not happy with card issuers increasing their credit limits without their approval. Two-thirds of those interviewed reported that they would prefer if their credit card limit were increased only if they ask for it.

About one-quarter of the survey respondents report having experienced some kind of credit card fraud in 2019. Those with annual household income of $100,000 or more are much more likely to report fraud than those whose household earns less.

When paying their credit card bills, the majority of Canadian consumers pay electronically. Two-thirds (66%) pay via online banking, and another 11% pay at the issues website.

With regard to credit card rewards, non-travel points (51%) and cash back (46%) are the most popular credit card rewards programs among cardholders. Among those with household income of $100,000 or more, non-travel related points and travel related rewards are more popular than among lower-income cardholders.

Credit Cards: Leading the Charge, the latest report from Mercator Advisory Group’s Primary Data Service, is based on a sample of 1,004 Canadian adults surveyed in the annual online Payments survey of Mercator’s North American PaymentsInsights series, conducted in June 2019.

The study highlights consumers’ use of credit cards relative to other payment types, the use of credit card controls, reward programs, and new account opening, among other topics.

“We are excited to expand our PaymentsInsights series into the Canadian market. This report serves as a benchmark for continued measurement in Canada. With it, we provide our clients an in-depth view into the credit card market in Canada and the perceptions of consumer about the state of credit cards,” stated the author of the report, Peter Reville, director of Primary Data Services at Mercator Advisory Group, which includes the North American PaymentsInsights series.

Companies mentioned in the survey results shown include: Borrowell, CASH Money, Easy Financial, Fairstone, Fast Financial, Ferratum, Insider Lend Direct, Lending Mate, Magical Credit, MOGO, Motus Bank, SkyCap Financial


Highlights of this report include:

  • Current payment card usage in Canada
  • How Canadians pay their credit card bills
  • The incidence of fraud
  • Merchant influence on card usage
  • How consumers use credit card controls
  • The current state of credit cards rewards
  • Where consumers go when researching a new credit card
  • The use of co-branded cards and the benefits they offer
  • A view of the use of online lenders



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