Canadians Increasingly Positive about Their Financial Circumstances

Financial health, however, remains a concern and saving money a top priority

TORONTO, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - A recent Interac Association study conducted by The Strategic Counsel found that almost two thirds (65 per cent) of Canadians hold a positive view about their current financial health, while only 10 per cent say it is "poor" or "very poor."  That being said, Canadians are cautious as nearly 7 in 10 individuals continue to worry about their money matters. 

The outlook for 2011 is brighter, with more than three-quarters of Canadians (77 per cent) reporting they believe they will achieve financial health in 2011.   However, Canadians clearly understand that it won't just happen.  Staying financially healthy requires a number of strategies and many Canadians are poised to use them.  A vast majority (81 per cent) of Canadians indicate that saving money is an important priority for the coming year while only 18 per cent indicate that saving is "not much of a priority" (12 per cent) or "not a priority at all" (6 per cent).

Although a budget was only used by 44 per cent of Canadians in 2010, 72 per cent of respondents indicated that it would be a tactic to stay on track with their finances in 2011.  Sticking with it will be the challenge, though, as only 28 per cent were very successful last year staying within their budget.  Other tactics include:

  • Cutting down on non-essential expenses (74 per cent).
  • Using Interac® Debit (approximately two-thirds or 67 per cent of Canadians).
  • Managing credit cards better (60 per cent).

"This outlook from Canadians at the start of 2011 is quite optimistic but cautiously so," said Caroline Hubberstey, director, Public and Government Affairs, Interac Association. "People are both positive and worried about their financial health but it appears that they are prepared to take helpful steps, like saving, budgeting and managing their cash, to get and stay there."

Other interesting findings of the Interac Association Financial Health study:

  • Choice of payment: Incorporating Interac Debit into the game plan is especially popular with those aged 30-49 (76 per cent) and women overall (72 per cent). 
  • Savings: Those aged 18-29 (63 per cent) and 30-49 (51 per cent) are significantly more likely than those aged 50+ (36 per cent) to indicate that saving is a "very important priority" for 2011.
  • Regional difference: Residents of Quebec (37 per cent) and British Columbia (41 per cent) are less likely to indicate that saving is a "very important priority" compared to the other provinces (50 per cent to 56 per cent).
  • Other tactics to achieve financial health in 2011:  Canadians living in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec are more likely to intend to keep to a budget (80 per cent and 76 per cent respectively); Albertans are more likely to indicate better management of credit cards as a tactic (68 per cent); and those in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces are more likely to intend to cut down on non-essential expenses (81 and 80 per cent respectively) as are those aged 18-29 (82 per cent).

About the survey
The omnibus survey was conducted by The Strategic Counsel among a random representative sampling of 1000 adult Canadians. The sample was weighted to reflect the actual population by sex and age within region. The survey was conducted from January 6 through January 10, 2011.

About Interac Association
A recognized world leader in debit card services, Interac Association is responsible for the development and operations of the Interac network, a national payment network that allows Canadians to access their money through Automated Banking Machines and point-of-sale terminals across Canada. 

Interac Association was founded in 1984 and is comprised of a diverse membership that includes banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, merchants, and technology and payment related companies.

Other related services offered by Acxsys Corporation, whose shareholders are the architects of the Interac network, include: Interac Online, for secure online payments directly from a bank account; Interac e-TransferTM, for the transfer of money from one person's bank account to another person's bank account using an email address or mobile phone number; and international services, which provide Canadian cardholders with point-of-sale access at nearly 2 million U.S. retailers, and PULSE, Discover, Diners Club International and China Unionpay cardholders access to ABMs in Canada.  For more information, please visit www.interac.ca.

®, TM: Interac, the Interac logo and Interac e-Transfer are trade-marks of Interac Inc. Used under license.

SOURCE Interac Association

For further information:

Kathryn Hanley, Hill & Knowlton
416-413-4754 or kathryn.hanley@hillandknowlton.ca

Teri Murphy
Interac Association/Acxsys Corporation
416-869-7171 or tmurphy@interac.ca


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