Second Annual Interac® Financial Fitness Survey Shows Most Canadians Still Positive Despite Gloomy Economic Environment

8 in 10 say they will likely be able to achieve financial health this year

TORONTO, Feb. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Even in the midst of economic indications predicting that 2012 will bring more bad news on the global economic front, Canadians continue to have a positive attitude about their personal financial health.

The second annual Financial Fitness Survey released by Interac Association found that while Canadians have some concern about their financial health they remain pragmatic and overwhelmingly optimistic about their ability to achieve financial health in 2012. Most realize there are steps they can take to help them stay on track and in fact more than 80 per cent of those polled said they believed they likely would be able to achieve financial health in 2012.

In order to do so:

  • 74 per cent said they intend to cut down on non-essentials;
  • 72 per cent said they intend to stick to a budget;
  • 62 per cent said they intend to use Interac Debit; and
  • 55 per cent said they intend to better manage credit cards.

Other interesting findings from the study found:

  • Two thirds (66 per cent) of Canadians rate their personal financial health as good or very good (compared to 65 per cent in 2011); only 9 per cent rated it as poor or very poor;
  • On a regional basis in 2012, those in the Atlantic provinces are less likely to view their personal financial health as very good or good (59 per cent, down significantly from 71 per cent in 2011) but remain optimistic about 2012, with 79 per cent saying that they are very or somewhat likely to achieve financial health in 2012;
  • Albertans were the most positive about their financial health (73 per cent in 2012 compared to 63 per cent in 2011) and 91 per cent saying that they will be able to stay on track in 2012;
  • A strong majority (81 per cent) of Canadians believe that they are very or somewhat likely to achieve financial health in 2012 (up from 77 per cent in 2011);
  • Canadians are less worried about their financial health this year than they were last (29 per cent worrying almost all or a lot of the time in 2012 compared to 33 per cent in 2011); and
  • Over 8 in 10 Canadians (83 per cent) believe that it will be an important priority to save money in 2012.

"What we are seeing in our second annual survey reflects what I think is a typical Canadian approach," said Caroline Hubberstey, Head, External Affairs, Interac Association. "By and large, Canadians are pragmatic and know what it takes to weather potential storms, even with gloomy news all around them.  When it comes to their financial fitness they are staying positive but mindful of steps they can take to stay on track."

She added there is a tendency for Canadians to want a more comprehensive understanding of how they spend money on a monthly basis and using Interac Debit for purchases can help them achieve that because funds come straight from their bank account in real time.

"When you spend using Interac Debit you are spending your own money, directly from your bank account and can literally see and track how much is being spent on what which can be a really effective budgeting tool."

This year will see the continued rollout of Interac FlashTM which provides Canadians with the ability to pay for smaller items in a way that is easier than ever and helps keep track of those purchases often paid for with cash and coin. Interac Flash is a secure "contactless" enhancement of Interac Debit that allows you to pay for smaller items instantly by simply 'flashing' your Interac chip debit card at a reader that supports Interac Flash.

How financially savvy are you?

Interac Association is taking to their Facebook page to test the personal finance know-how of their friends and fans with a second annual Financial Fitness contest. Starting today and running until March 2, the contest is a fun and simple quiz that helps determine whether you have the balance right when it comes to your spending habits. Are you a heavy lifter when it comes to financial fitness, or do you need to up your game a bit? Three cash prizes will be awarded to help the winners brighten their 2012 outlook.

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 5 through January 12, 2012.

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 59,000 Automated Banking Machines and 727,000 point-of-sale terminals across Canada. Interac Association has also recently introduced Interac Flash, a secure contactless enhancement of Interac Debit that allows Canadians to pay for items instantly by simply 'flashing' their Interac chip debit card at a reader that supports Interac Flash.

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 made 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 UnionPay cardholders access to ABMs in Canada.

Interac, Interac Flash and Interac e-Transfer are trade-marks of Interac Inc. Used under license.

*The Interac e-Transfer service, for secure person-to-person payments, is currently available to customers of over 70 banks and credit unions including BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, President's Choice Financial, National Bank, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust among others. Central 1, through participating credit unions, offers the option of using mobile phone numbers, in addition to email, to notify Interac e-Transfer recipients. Money never travels by email or text message. More information about the Interac e- Transfer service and a complete list of participating banks and credit unions can be found at www.interca.ca.

SOURCE Interac Association

For further information:

Jennifer McKay
Interac Association / Acxsys Corporation
jmckay@interac.ca
647-629-8796


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