Credit and debit cards give economy a boost, Visa report says

Credit and debit cards give economy a boost, Visa report says

OTTAWA — Being able to pay for goods and services electronically with  credit and debit cards has helped boost the economy by making it easier  to spend money, a new report by Visa Canada suggests.

Electronic payment technology has helped make international tourism  easier, as well as fuelled online shopping, which would be far more  difficult without easy ways to pay, the report found.

Tom Hester, senior economist at Visa, said as we move to more  efficient payment mechanisms it allows consumers to walk around with  much more powerful wallets.

“If you add up the buying power in your wallet with your credit and  debit cards, it can be tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars  worth of purchasing power that you would never carry if you had to just  carry cash,” Hester said. “That facilitates commerce.”

The Visa report said that from 2006 to 2010, the number of credit and  debit transactions in the country grew 25%, from $363.4-billion to  $455.4-billion. The report went on to suggest that nearly one quarter of  Canadian economic growth over the past 25 years was driven by  electronic payments.

A recent report by the Bank of Canada suggests the majority of  transactions by Canadians are still by cash. The bank found that cash  accounted for 54% of all transactions, followed by debit cards with 25%  and credit cards with 19%. However, credit cards led in terms of payment  values, accounting for 41% of expenses.

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