Canadians keen to use smartphones, smartwatches and wearable devices as new ways to pay

Mobile payments on the rise and the future of money not so sci-fi

TORONTO, Oct. 8, 2014 /CNW/ - PayPal Canada today released the findings of a national study that shows Canadians are keen to embrace future-forward payment options like wearable devices and smartwatches. The study provides insight on how purchasing habits are shifting to include the use of digital and mobile payments, with close to a third of Canadians (29%) having used their mobile phone to make an online purchase while on-the-go and nearly a quarter (23%) having used their mobile phone in-person at a store to make a purchase.

The PayPal study also reveals enthusiasm for emerging technologies, with almost half (45%) agreeing that Canadians are ready to embrace methods such as mobile payments via wearable devices. This readiness to experience the next and the new is clear with almost one in two Canadians (47%) wishing retailers offered more safe and secure mobile payment options.

"New technologies and devices will transform our shopping and payment experience in the next five years," says renowned retail industry futurist, Doug Stephens. "The PayPal study proves that Canadians are active participants in this evolution, which gives retailers a unique opportunity to create innovative shopping experiences that go beyond in-store and online for consumers who wish to shop across all their devices, be it smartphones, smartwatches or digital wristbands."

Futuristic Payments
In a galaxy not so far away, the wallet of the future is bound to take on many different forms – a chip-embedded finger, an Internet-enabled fridge, a pair of glasses, or a shirt button. Canadians are already swiping the screens on their mobile phones, so how likely are we to adopt even more cutting edge ways to pay?

  • Perhaps a reflection of our love for road trips to cottage country, more than a third (35%) indicate they would be likely to use an Internet-enabled car to pay for gas at the pump;
  • Domestic bliss, The Jetsons style: more than one in five (22%) indicate they would be likely to use an Internet-enabled fridge to shop and pay for items directly from an online grocery store;
  • Not just for superheroes: one in five (18%) would be likely to use a chip implanted in a finger that allows them to simply tap to complete an in-store payment, while 22% say they would use facial recognition technology to pay for items in a store, or would pay for items in a store using a retina scanner.

When it comes to wearable technology or wearable devices, Canadians are showing a distinct interest. Half of Canadians (51%) have heard of wearable technology, and that awareness spikes (to 67%) when prompted with a description. According to respondents, the potential benefits of paying through wearable devices include:

  • Not having to carry a wallet or phone (32%);
  • Being hands-free (32%);
  • Not worrying about losing a device you're wearing (29%);
  • Having everything in one place (28%).

Keen to marry style and function, almost one in four respondents (23%) would be likely to use a watch or bracelet that lets them pay for in-store purchases, while only about half that number (12%) would consider Internet-enabled glasses to make in-store purchases.

When it comes to considering new ways to pay when going out, Canadians are most likely to use a bracelet that allows them to pay for rides and food at an amusement park (31%), or a bracelet that allows them to pay for food, beverages and merchandise at a concert (28%). Have fun without worrying about leaving anything behind.

Digital Money Gains Popularity
With close to nine-in-ten (88%) of Canadians having made an online purchase from their computer or tablet, and 61% indicating use of the PayPal digital wallet to pay for these purchases, money is undeniably becoming digital.

"We'll see a huge change over the next few years in the way we shop and pay for things. PayPal's vision of money is to enable people to pay from any Internet-enabled device anytime, anywhere," says Cameron Schmidt, General Manager, PayPal Canada. "More than 5.5 million Canadians already use a PayPal digital wallet. Our users are already online and mobile savvy when it comes to shopping and will likely be among the first to adopt and pay using the latest devices like smartwatches and digital wristbands and future-forward options like Internet-enabled vehicles and appliances."

Canadians who are currently not using a digital wallet are considering breaking from their traditional habits, with one in five (21%) indicating that they are likely to use a digital wallet in the next year, citing convenience as a key driver. They dislike having to re-enter personal or financial information each time they make an online purchase (55%), and they love that they save time when they use a digital wallet (51%).

Mobile Money
Almost a third of Canadians (29%) are already using their mobile phones to make online purchase payments while on the go. Canadians who use their mobile phone to perform the following activities (at least once every few months) indicate that their usage levels have increased compared to last year:

  • 38% transfer money to family, friends or the babysitter more often;
  • 37% purchase games with their mobile phone more often;
  • 32% download apps, music or movies and other digital content more often;
  • 25% donate money to charities more often.

Almost a quarter of Canadians (23%) already use their mobile phones to make in-store purchases.

Canadians currently using mobile payments agree that mobile transactions can be quick and effortless (65%), while 6 in 10 (62%) agree that they use it without giving it a second thought, because it's how they pay. In addition, almost half (46%) agree that they wish they didn't have to carry both their wallets and phones, while a third (27%) agree that they feel frustrated by people who don't pay with their mobile phones and hold up the line using cash or credit/debit cards.

Of those who've made mobile payments at least once every few months in the past year, more than half (51%) are choosing this method of payment more often when purchasing a coffee, snack or meal compared to 12 months ago.

Recognizing that the future is mobile, PayPal offers simple and secure mobile payment solutions to retailers and Canadians. The company is on track to globally process 1 billion mobile payments in 2014. In Toronto, people can use the PayPal app to pay at over 100 trendy cafes and restaurants.

Survey findings also indicate that those who do not currently use mobile payments are intrigued and potentially open to this form of payment. Six out of 10 (59%) Canadians say they feel envious when they see other people using their mobile phone to pay in-store and wish they could do the same; 42 per cent agree that they are curious, and want to know more about how it works.

About the Study
The PayPal Survey was conducted by Nielsen ( among 1,504 Canadians, ages 18 and older, from September 4-19, 2014. Results were weighted according to age and gender within region to ensure a representative sample of the population. As the study was completed using Nielsen's proprietary online panel, it is precluded from reporting a margin of error. The margin of error for a representative sample of this size (n=1,504) would be ± 2.5 per cent, within a 95% confidence interval.

About PayPal
At PayPal, we put people at the center of everything we do. Founded in 1998, we continue to be at the forefront of the digital payments revolution, giving people direct control over their money. Through our innovations, we make life better for our over 152 million active registered accounts by helping people and businesses receive and make payments in more than 100 currencies in 203 markets. An eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) company, PayPal is the faster, safer way to pay and get paid. Giving people simpler ways to send money without sharing financial information, and with the flexibility to pay using their account balances, bank accounts or credit cards, PayPal processes 9.3 million payments every day for our customers.

Visit for more information and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and our PayPal Canada blog.

Image with caption: "Canadians keen to use smartphones, smartwatches and wearable devices as new ways to pay (CNW Group/PayPal)". Image available at:


For further information: Media Contacts: Malini Mitra, PayPal, Tel: 416-969-2277, Email:; Ashley Shantz, MSLGROUP, Tel: 416.847.1344, Email:

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