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Articles - Cashless Society


The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) estimated that in the last fiscal year, ending June 30, 2000, over 85 per cent of consumer banking transactions were done electronically. CBA statistics show that since 1994 internet banking use has gone up 10 per cent annually and is rising.

E-commerce options are continuing to grow for the consumer and smart card technologies offer the user and the financial institution many applications and the required security.

Studies conducted by the Interac Association have shown that Canadians are avid users of Interac Direct Payment (IDP). In 1999, there were 54.3 IDP transactions per Canadian, compared to 44.2 in the Netherlands, 41.3 in France and 27.5 in the United States.

The convenience of IDP is a strong draw for Canadians, who used it over 1.96 billion times from over 310,000 merchant locations in 2000, according to a consumer survey conducted by the Interac Association.

IDP statistics suggest that a cashless society is not as farfetched as it sounds. A recent study shows that 42 per cent of Canadians use IDP as a method of payment, compared to 35 per cent of Canadians who use cash for payment transactions.


Electronic purses, wallets, e-cash and pre-paid debit cards are examples of stored value cards. The user transfers cash from a bank account and the amount is stored on the card for future purchases.

Pilot programs have shown that the most promising application results were from stored cash value in closed environments like school campuses, malls and airports. Application results were also promising when smart cards were used for parking meters, vending machines and coin-operated laundries. This will expand to general usage when a national smart card infrastructure is put into place, allowing Canadians access to the convenience of smart card applications on a national basis.

Financial: stored value, e-money, home PC banking, telephone banking, e-commerce signature and verification methods.

Telecom: pre-paid phone cards, SIM cards in cellular phones and storage for personal phone directories.

Education: campus identification, stored value, vending machines, physical and data access, library and meal plans.

Transportation: stored value for public transit, tolls, parking payments, fare allocation and rolling stock allocation.

Travel: payment applications, ticketless airline travel and frequent flyer loyalty programs.

Retail: gift certificates, bill payments and loyalty programs.

Gaming and Entertainment: lottery tickets, television top boxes, PAY TV de-scrambling and payment applications