INTERAC(R) Study Reveals Three-quarters of Canadians Still Using Personal

    Why are personal cheques still being used and could we see
    shift from paper to online methods of transferring money?

TORONTO, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - While many Canadians are using and prefer the convenience and reliability of electronic methods of payment, three-quarters of Canadians are still using personal cheques. An INTERAC study reveals why Canadians are still pulling out the personal cheque books and what alternatives they have.

According to a national survey commissioned by INTERAC, and conducted by The Strategic Counsel(1), 75 per cent of Canadians are still using personal cheques, and while they recognize that cheque use is only somewhat convenient (49 per cent), they indicate that they believe it is the only option available in some circumstances (70 per cent).

"Since the introduction of electronic payments, cheque use began a downward trend in retail, as Canadians gravitated to more convenient and reliable methods of making payments, such as INTERAC debit," said Caroline Hubberstey, Director of Public and Government Affairs at Acxsys Corporation, whose shareholders are the architects of the INTERAC network. "Although cheque use has decreased by 50 per cent over the past eight years alone(2), it seems that cheques are still being used in certain instances."

The greatest proportion of cheque users indicated that they write approximately 6-20 cheques a year. Personal cheques are most commonly used to pay for: one-time projects or events, such as home renovations or weddings; services, such as babysitting or gardening; membership fees, such as gym and club memberships; and monetary gifts. Cheque users also indicated use of cheques for paying back someone they owe money to and sending money to a relative, such as a student away in university.

The study also looked at non-cheque users and reasons why they do not use this form of payment method. Non-cheque users indicated that cheques take too long and prefer faster alternatives (88 per cent), and also indicated that authorization and processing procedures prevent money from coming out of their bank accounts immediately (70 per cent).

"Electronic payments continue to evolve to provide Canadians with secure and convenient methods of transferring money," said Hubberstey. "INTERAC Email Money Transfer, for example, moves money directly from one bank account to another, without the need for paper and without the long processing period - it really is a convenient alternative to cheques."

A quarter of respondents indicated that they have used INTERAC Email Money Transfer, and reported that they use the service for many of the activities that cheque users identified. The top uses indicated included the following: sending money to a relative; paying back someone they owe money to; monetary gifts; and membership fees.

"As online options become more mainstream, we expect to see a growing movement from personal cheques to online money transfers, just as Canadians moved from cash and cheque to electronic payments," said Hubberstey.

    Who is Using Cheques - By Age
    18-29 years - 61%
    30-49 years - 77%
    50+ years - 80%

    Who is Using Cheques - By Region
    Atlantic - 65%
    Quebec - 69%
    Ontario - 78%
    Manitoba/Saskatchewan - 79%
    Alberta - 77%
    BC - 80%

    How Many Cheques are Canadians Using Yearly?
    Less than five cheques - 21%
    6-20 cheques - 43%
    21-35 cheques - 16%
    36-50 cheques - 9%
    More than 50 cheques - 11%

    What are Canadians using Cheques for?
    One-time projects or events e.g. home renovation or wedding - 46%
    Payments to people who provide services e.g. babysitter or gardener - 45%
    Membership fees e.g. gym membership, clubs or associations - 45%
    Monetary gifts - 40%
    Pay back someone they owe money to - 36%
    Send money to relative in need e.g. child in university - 29%

    What are Canadians using INTERAC Email Money Transfer for?
    To send money to a relative in need e.g. child in university - 42%
    To pay back someone they owe money to - 40%
    Monetary gifts - 26%
    Membership fees e.g. gym membership, clubs or associations - 25%
    One-time projects or events e.g. home renovation or wedding - 19%
    Payments to people who provide services e.g. babysitter or gardener - 18%

About Acxsys Corporation

Acxsys Corporation, comprised of eight large financial institutions as shareholders, is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Acxsys specializes in the development and operation of new payment service opportunities as well as consulting and management services in the field of electronic payments. The Corporation's shareholders are the architects of Canada's national network for shared electronic financial services: INTERAC Direct Payment, Canada's national debit card service and INTERAC Shared Cash Dispensing Service for cash withdrawals at Automated Banking Machines. For more information, please visit

    (1) The omnibus survey was conducted by The Strategic Counsel from
        September 18 to 23, 2009, among a representative sample of 1,000
        Canadians, 18 years or older.  According to the survey, the margin of
        error for a sample of 1000 is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out
        of 20.

    (2) Canadian Payments Association,

    (R) Trade-marks of Interac Inc. Used under licence.


For further information: For further information: Tina Romano, Interac Association/Acxsys Corporation, (416) 869-5062 or; Sara Beckford, Strategic Objectives, (416) 366-7735 ext. 225 or

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