The Cost of Digital Cash

digital cash

(TORONTO, ON) – Imagine a world where you can order groceries at your fridge, pay for gas at the pump with an internet-enabled car, and tap your finger (with an implanted chip) to pay at the cash register.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

It’s too easy, according to Jeff Schwartz. The executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is worried about a recent release from e-commerce giant PayPal which trumpets Canadian enthusiasm for emerging and future payment technologies.

People have a hard enough time sticking to a budget as it is,” says Schwartz. “What’s going to happen when money can jump from your bank account to a retailer with the blink of an eye?”

Schwartz is not simply evoking an old cliche – the PayPal study shows that 22 per cent of Canadians would be likely to pay for purchases in a store using their eyes, with the aid of a retina scanner. Other futuristic findings include:

  • Forty-five per cent of Canadians are ready to embrace digital payments through wearable technology.
  • More than one in five (22%) would be likely to use a “smart” fridge to shop and pay for items from an online grocer, and more than a third (35%) would use pay for gas at the pump with an internet-enabled car.
  • Nearly six out of ten (59%) Canadians feel envious when they see other people using their mobile phone to pay in-store and wish they could do the same.
  • More than half (55%) of Canadians dislike having to re-enter personal or financial information every time they make an online purchase.

With such widespread acceptance of online payments, and with digital purchasing sure to grow easier and easier in the very near future, Consolidated Credit has put together some grounding tips to keep Canadians on the straight-and-narrow:

  • Stay accountable – Dwindling amounts of cash in your wallet is a very simple and direct way to know that you’re spending. With the shift to digital payments, make sure you keep track of your spending by using a budgeting app and keeping an eye on your bank account balance.
  • Avoid credit – Paying digitally with money you don’t have will only pull you another degree of separation away from budget reality. Instead of linking your credit card to online purchases, try using debit systems that allow you to pay with your chequing account.
  • Take your time – The 55 per cent of Canadians who want to avoid re-entering their personal/payment information for each transaction will be missing out on valuable reflection time. Instant, effortless payments do not allow a consumer the chance to second-guess their purchase. Follow the “30-minute rule” and come back to your purchase a half-hour later to assess if you really need it.
  • Protect against fraud – Digital payments are getting safer and safer, but breaches do occur. Pay attention to your transactions and review your credit report on a regular basis to see if anything unusual is happening.

It’s hard to argue with the value of convenience,” adds Schwartz. “But easy payments will mean that Canadians will have to be that much more aware of the dangers of impulse purchases and the slippery slope that can result in more debt.”

About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.

For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:

Jacob MacDonald, Public Relations Coordinator, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 647-390-5253, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]

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