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Canada Cards & Payments Market Report

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  • Published Date: March 2023


A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Canada, with clearsighted commentary backed by relevant data. Excitement is building here as the patient preparations for a new payments era centred on instant payments, Open Banking and fintech-friendly regulation draw closer to bearing fruit. Moving with the times, incumbent banks have themselves been developing digital alternatives, with a more collaborative approach from banks likely to maximise the real-time opportunity when the new real-time rail goes live. As in the United States, credit-card rewards are becoming more flexible and meeting with increasing enthusiasm among cardholders.

What is happening in the Canadian cards and payments market?

Slowly but surely, this traditional market is modernising payments infrastructures. For example, a mass-market RTP called Real-Time Rail has been long in development. At a similar pace, a regulatory regime is being prepared, with Open Banking at its centre: a stakeholder-agreed Standard for 'consumer-directed finance' was published in November 2022. Both credit-card penetration and usage are high: security, rewards and cashback are the drivers. Cobrand contracts are fiercely contested, with Costco a high-profile win for CIBC.

What can we expect in cards and digital payments here?

Although charge-off rates are beginning to climb slowly again, AAR estimates that revenue growth spurred by rapid growth in spend will be more than sufficient to increase profits in the coming years. The four biggest issuers all end the period under review with increased card-number share with consumers, happy with status quo, lacking incentives to commit to mobile payments, though digital solutions such as Interac e-Transfer are seeing record transaction numbers. The regulatory manifestation of 2021's Retail Payment Activities Act (RPAA) is expected in 2024-25.

What about global players in this cards and payments market?

Visa enjoys a two-thirds share of credit cards in issue, with Mastercard the only meaningful competitor. In 2022, they allowed merchants to surcharge credit-card transactions at a maximum rate of 2.4 percent. American Express is stabilising after setbacks but yet to recover its 2016 position. Global Payments enjoys almost a quarter of the merchant-acquiring market; fellow American provider Chase Payments also enjoys a strong presence.

How are other players and challengers faring?

Mobile payments are constantly growing, with P2P transactions quintupling their volume and mobile-proximity payments volume growing even more strongly between 2016 and 2021. Amazon and Block have both made BNPL options available here. E-commerce continues to appeal despite a return to in-store shopping.

What you will learn from this report:

The report explores the Canada card payments market covering infrastructure payment preferences, consumer payment trends and the growth of online payment systems. It offers information on the competitive landscape for payments in Canada, including demographic and economic indicators, payment metrics, market shares for acquirers and issuers. Our writers and researchers frame information in contexts such as historical, sectoral and regional trends, adding a layer of value often missing from the rolling news cycle.

Canada Payments Research | Report Contents

Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information

Canada Country Report Data Tables
(All 2016-25F unless otherwise stated)

1: Demographic and economic indicators
2: Ownership of key consumer devices
3: Internet usage by population
4: Access points 2016-23E
5: Account penetration
6: Consumer payment 2016-23E
7: B2C e-commerce payment methods 2016-23E
8: Total cards payment metrics
9: Contactless cards metrics 2018-25F
10: Credit card numbers
11: Total credit cards metrics
12: Credit cards profitability indicators
13: Debit cards numbers
14: Debit cards metrics
15: Prepaid/e-money cards metrics
16: Mobile proximity payment metrics: 2016-25F
17 : Mobile P2P payments: 2016-21
18: Canada market profit pool including credit card numbers, billed volumes, outstandings, interest incomes, net interest revenues, merchant revenues, card fee revenues, other non-interest incomes, total revenues, net credit losses, operating expenses, total expenses, pre-tax profits, merchant service charges, rollover rates, APR, net credit losses to outstandings, operating costs to revenues, ROA (pre-tax profits to outstandings).

(All 2016-23F below unless otherwise stated)

19: Networks' credit card market shares
20: Networks' credit card numbers
21: Networks' credit card billed volume
22: Networks' number of credit card transactions
23: Networks' average credit card transaction value
24: Credit card interchange fees by network
25: Networks' debit card market shares
26: Networks' debit card numbers
27: Networks' debit card billed volume
28: Networks' number of debit card transactions
29: Networks' average debit card transaction value
30: Debit card interchange fees by network
31: Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers 2018-23F
32: Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings 2018-23F
33: Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers 2018-23F
34: Merchant acquirer credit card market share 2022E
35: Credit card merchant service charges
36: Merchant acquirer debit card market share: 2022E
37: Debit card merchant service charges
38: Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
39: Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
40: Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers 2022E
41: Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions 2022E
42: Online merchant acquirer market share 2022E

Canada Country Report | Selected Extracts

Payments Environment
This is an advanced payments market with high levels of card usage. In common with other developed countries, cash use is declining and digital payments are growing in popularity in the aftermath of the pandemic. When it comes to cards, Canada has a balanced and inclusive market, consisting of a competitive credit card segment and a popular low-cost domestic debit scheme.

Demographics and the Economy
One of the most trade-dependent countries globally, trade comprises two-thirds of gross domestic product. Almost three-quarters takes place exclusively with the United States: this economy is extremely dependent upon the economic fortunes of its southern neighbour.

Cards Market
This payment cards market enjoys great consumer penetration and merchant acceptance. The average adult made 422 card-purchase transactions in 2022, a year-on-year Increase ... Argus Advisory Research estimates that this metric will increase further to 442 purchase transactions by the end of 2023.

Mobile Payments
Mobile payments have been increasing in popularity but in common with many other advanced economies, adoption is hindered by consumer indifference. Providers struggle to incentivise consumers to switch to mobile when many see cards with contactless functionality as offering comparable convenience.

Profit Pool
In common with many counterparts around the world, Covid hurt the Canadian credit cards market. Following several years of sustained growth, credit-card purchase volume shrank during 2020-21 and only regained its 2019 level in 2022.

Card Networks
Canada's credit cards market is represented in the main by three global brands: Visa, Mastercard and American Express. There has been stiff competition between Visa and Mastercard, with the former leading the market on most metrics ... The debit cards market is dominated by Canada's domestic debit network, Interac.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers
The retail banking market in Canada is dominated by the Big Five: RBC (Royal Bank of Canada), TD (TorontoDominion Bank), Scotiabank, CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) and BMO (Bank of Montreal). RBC is the largest in terms of total asset size. At the end of 2021, around 80 banks were operating in the country.

Acquiring and Processing
The merchant acquiring market in Canada is relatively concentrated, with the top four acquirers sharing over 90 percent of the market. The dominant quartet are Moneris Solutions, Global Payments, Chase Merchant Services and TD Merchant Services ... Some Canadian credit card issuers conduct their issuing processing in house. However, most of the largest issuers have outsourced this operation to TSYS.

Online Acquiring
Canada has a high internet penetration rate of over 90 percent, and the e-commerce market is constantly growing. Argus Advisory Research estimates that around $85 billion was acquired by online merchants in Canada in 2022. Cross border e-commerce is extremely popular.

Regulatory and Markets Information
In Canada, supervisory responsibility for the financial sector is divided between the federal government, provincial governments and national self-regulatory organisations. For the first of these, the Financial Institutions Supervisory Committee (FISC) acts as the chief coordinating body, setting regulatory policy and supervising financial institutions.

Canada Payments Report | Entities Referenced

Altitude Sports
Amazon Pay
American Express
Ameublements Tanguay
Amex Pay
Android Pay
Apple Pay
ATB Financial
Bank of Canada
Bank of Montreal
Bank of Nova Scotia
Best Buy
BMO Harris Bank
Brault & Martineau
Canada Computers
Canadian Association of University Teachers.
Canadian Bankers Association
Canadian Bar Association
Canadian Bobsleigh and Skeleton team
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Canadian Nurses' Association
Canadian Payments Association
Canadian Tire Bank
Canadian Tire Financial Services
Capital One
Chase Merchant Services
Chase Paymentech
Chase Payments
Children's Aid
Cineplex Entertainment
Consumer-Directed Finance
Empire Company
E-xact Transactions
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
First Data
First Ontario Credit Union
Food Banks Canada
Future Shop
Global Payments
Google Pay
Home Depot
ISO 20022
JPMorgan Chase
Meridian Credit Union
Moneris Solutions
National Bank
National Data Corporation
National Hockey League
Nova Information Systems
Patrick Morin
Payments Canada
PC Financial
Presidents Choice
Provincial Bank
Real-Time Rail
Red Cross
Reno Depot
Restaurants Canada
Retail Council of Canada
Retail Payment Activities Act
Royal Bank of Canada
Samsung Pay
Samsung POS
Tangerine Bank
TD Canada Trust
TD Financing Services
TD Merchant Services
The Bay
The Hockey Shop
The Source
Tire Crew
Toronto International Film Festival
Toronto Maple Leafs
U.S. Bancorp
University of Ottawa
University of Toronto
Visa Foundation
Winnipeg Jets


Argus Advisory Research reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit. Analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and local experts.

See more North America Country Reports or explore the full range of worldwide cards & payments reports available for 72 markets world-wide.

To find out more or to discuss subscription options, please email or telephone +44(0)20 3764 0301.