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Bills to pay bills: Cash still popular amongst Canadians

Gloria Mak, Howl Staff

Despite the simplicity of debit and credit cards and the lack of space they take up in your wallet, Canadians still like their bills.

An unusual survey conducted by the Bank of Canada finds that cash accounts for about 53.8% of all transactions and 70% of transactions under $25. Debit and credit are being used more often if not almost exclusively for higher-value transactions. The survey also reveals that cash is used less often by younger Canadians.

As part of the younger Canadian population, I do fit the trend. I enjoy how little I have to carry around when I have my debit and credit card on me. The unfortunate part is that it could either lead to incurring additional charges for this ease of use due to using up my monthly transactions on my debit card or recklessly overspending due to my credit card.

Cash does have its appeal though: it is great for budgeting. If I wanted to spend only $80 a week on food, having that physical amount in my pocket and being able to see what was left each time I spent money would help me properly gauge my expenditure more accurately rather than trying to keep track of all my bills for the week (it’s not like I don’t already have enough to juggle in my mind as a student). It also poses less of a security threat in terms of identity theft and fraudulent charges.

On the other hand, having the physical cash around is a hassle as it can weigh down your pockets. You can easily lose coins if you have a wide pocket. Even worse is the constant paranoia that somebody might rob you if you are carrying large amounts of cash.

I would still pick debit and credit over cash just for simplicity’s sake despite cash’s attractiveness but come up with a better budgeting program. It’s nice not to have to carry all that bulk around, but I would certainly keep a modest amount of it around in case of emergencies.

What do you think? Would the trend regarding the mode of money expenditure be similar to that of the regular Canadian population?


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