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Canadians report spending less, avoiding cash payments during pandemic: survey

Of about 1,500 Canadians, 75% said they were spending less than they had been before COVID-19 restrictions tethered them to their homes, according to a joint survey from Leger Marketing and the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS).

Payment Canada, which oversees payment needs of consumers and businesses in Canada, included certain questions in the survey, and hoped to compare spending behaviours in Canadians before the pandemic and five weeks into restrictions.

They believe the decrease in spending is because Canadians are running out of money to spend. About 44% of respondents said their income had taken a hit, and 51% of all respondents said that their savings or investments had been negatively impacted.

Canadians say they have been spending less, despite an increase in the ratio of people using food deliver services — 26% of respondents said they had used delivery options like Uber Eats and Instacart more frequently than in the past, and 29% said they had tipped more.

A staggering 93% of respondents, said they had completely stopped going out, except for necessities. When people did leave their house, about 4 out of 10 respondents said they avoided shopping at places that did not accept contactless payments.

"While we have seen a continued shift towards digital payments over a number of years in Canada, there's no doubt that the prevailing pandemic has accelerated this shift," said Tracey Black, Payments Canada president and chief executive officer.

Data for the survey was obtained in interviews of adults between Apr. 17 and Apr. 19.

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