BMO Bank of Montreal
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BMO Bank of Montreal

May 17, 2011 10:25 ET

What Are Canadians Pulling Out of Their Wallets?

BMO poll shows cash and cards are king; use of electronic funds transfers is increasing

- Most Canadians (81 per cent) use cash and debit for their day-to-day expenditures

- 47 per cent indicate they use a credit card for merchandise such as clothing, while 75 per cent use credit cards for 'big-ticket' purchases

- In the past two years, the use of electronic funds transfers has increased by 34 per cent

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 17, 2011) - Consumers have access to a wide array of choices to pay for purchases, but according to a new poll from BMO Bank of Montreal, cash and debit cards hold the top spot in most wallets.

The BMO survey, conducted by Leger Marketing, shows 81 per cent of Canadians indicated they currently use cash or debit for most purchases, while cheques have taken a back seat (55 per cent).

"Whether they're browsing the web for deals, paying utility bills or simply re-stocking the house with groceries, convenience appears to be the number one driver for Canadians when it comes to how they make purchases," said Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. "And as consumers continue to recover from the recent economic downturn, the numbers also demonstrate that Canadians are taking a 'don't spend what you don't have' approach to their day-to-day spending, which is an encouraging sign."

The survey also revealed:

  • Most Canadians (60 per cent) use cash for their day-to-day spending such as lunch and coffee.
  • 48 per cent say they are more likely to use a debit card for household expenses, such as groceries, gas and drug store purchases.
  • 47 per cent indicate they use a credit card for merchandise such as clothing, while 75 per cent use credit cards for 'big-ticket' purchases, such as travel and furniture.
  • Those in Quebec are less likely to use cash (71 per cent) compared to any other region with the exception of Atlantic Canada.
  • However, those in Quebec are more likely to use debit cards compared to those in Alberta (78 per cent), Ontario (77 per cent) and British Columbia (76 per cent).

Online Banking Tools on the Rise

The BMO survey also showed that Canadians have increased their use of electronic funds transfers by 34 per cent, with two thirds of Canadians (63 per cent) using this method to pay their bills. McVey notes that online banking tools offer consumers a real-time view of where their money is going on a weekly basis.

"In the past, consumers tended to use cheques for their recurring bill payments, but as more advanced and secure online banking functions have become available, it's no surprise to see an increase in this area," added McVey. "Online banking tools allow consumers to track their money in real-time, giving customers added peace of mind and convenience."

McVey adds that BMO introduced BMO MoneyLogic in January to help Canadians track their spending and savings. BMO MoneyLogic is a free online tool linked to BMO bank accounts, lines of credit and BMO MasterCard accounts, and automatically provides a total view of these accounts. It includes easy-to-use budgeting, tracking and reporting tools.

"It's proven wildly successful in a very short time, with over 200,000 online banking customers using the tool since its launch," says McVey.

Additional survey findings:

  • Men are more likely to say they have increased their use of electronic fund transfers compared to women (38 per cent vs. 30 per cent).
  • Those 35 and older are more likely than those 18-34 to pay their bills through electronic funds transfer (67 per cent vs. 51 per cent).
  • Those 45 and older are more likely to use cash for their day-to-day spending compared to those under 44 (68 per cent vs. 50 per cent).

The survey was completed with 1,500 Canadian adults and was conducted using Leger Marketing's Web panel between May 2 and 4, 2011.

For more information on BMO MoneyLogic, please visit www.bmo.com/moneylogic. For more tips on budgeting, planning and smart spending, visit www.bmo.com/smartsteps.

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