How Canadians Bank

Last modified: 26 July 2016
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Fast facts

  • The Internet is now the main means of banking for 55 per cent of Canadians, and use of the Internet as the primary banking choice is increasing among all age groups.
  • Branch and ABM banking, while declining in popularity over time, remain important and valued methods of conducting a wide variety of banking transactions.
  • 90 per cent of Canadians say innovations have made banking more convenient, enabling them to bank virtually whenever and wherever it suits them.

The bottom line

Banks are offering Canadians more secure and faster ways to do their banking. Customers are embracing new technologies and say they see real value in the increased convenience, choice and flexibility that they have in banking today.

Banks offer a wide range of financial services for consumers and a number of ways for people to access those services. In fact, of the 80 banks operating in Canada, at least 40 offer financial products and services to Canadian consumers - including bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments.

Gone are the days when doing your banking meant a visit to a branch. Now a customer can bank anytime from virtually anywhere through online, mobile and telephone banking. Caught in the grocery store checkout line without enough cash? Customers can use debit cards and get cash back at the same time. Forgot to pay some bills before going on vacation? Customers can pay bills online, through a mobile device, at an ABM or by phone or even set them up for direct payment.

Canadians are embracing these new choices. A 2014 CBA survey, How Canadians Bank, showed that Canadians use a variety of banking services to meet their needs and believe technologies available through their financial institution make their personal banking more convenient.

Online banking remains the most popular

Online banking continues to grow and is now the most popular method of conducting banking transactions:

  • More than three-quarters of Canadians (77 per cent) report using online banking in the last year.
  • 55 per cent of Canadians now use the Internet as their main means of banking, up from only eight per cent in 2000. And online banking is popular among all age groups: 57 per cent of young Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 say online is their main way of banking as do half of those 55 or older.
  • 45 per cent of Canadians report that their use of online banking has increased, while only four per cent say it is on the decline.
  • 48 per cent of Canadians use online banking as their primary method of bill payment, while 27 per cent prefer pre-authorized debit or credit card payments, seven per cent pay in a branch, four per cent use telephone banking and four per cent pay at an ABM.

Mobile banking is growing fast

With more and more Canadians carrying mobile devices, banks offer mobile banking services and apps that allow customers to carry out a variety of day-to-day banking transactions through their mobile devices. And the number of Canadians banking on the go continues to rise.

  • 31 per cent of Canadians reported using mobile banking during the last year, up from five per cent in 2010.
  • 26 per cent say their use of mobile banking is increasing, particularly among younger Canadians, but 21 per cent of those over 65 say it is increasing as well.
  • 43 per cent of Canadians expect to be conducting their banking using mobile devices in the near future.
  • Canadians believe that the introduction of new innovations will change how they pay for things.  When asked, 23 per cent don’t think they will be carrying cash in 10 years and 54 per cent anticipate no longer using cheques.

Branch banking: the personal touch

Despite the growth in electronic options, branches remain a vital part of banking in Canada. To better meet customer needs, many branches are extending their hours and opening on Saturdays and Sundays. And some branches offer drive-through facilities.

  • 13 per cent of Canadians surveyed identify branch banking as their main banking method, down significantly from 29 per cent in 2000.
  • Residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the highest users of in-branch banking with 15 per cent using it for their main banking needs. For Quebec residents, only seven per cent rely mainly on branches.
  • 40 per cent of Canadians say their use of in-branch banking as dropped. As demand for day-to-day banking has decreased, branches have become more specialized, where a variety of financial products, services and advice are also available.

ABMs still popular

There are more than 65,000 ABMs in Canada, including 18,711 bank-owned ABMs.

More Canadians now identify online banking as their primary banking method (55 per cent) over banking at the ABM (18 per cent):  

  • In 2015, Canadians made approximately 510 million cash withdrawals, 172 million deposits and 36 million bill payments at bank-owned ABMs.
  • 85 per cent of Canadians use ABMs when making cash withdrawals, while 25 per cent do so at a branch.  Twenty-one per cent also take advantage of cash-back services available at some retailers.

Canadians value banking innovations

As technology evolves, banks are always looking for ways to make it easier for Canadians to access their banking. And Canadians clearly value the convenience of these innovations. When asked specifically what is important to them:

  • 90 per cent of Canadians said banking at a time that is convenient
  • 77 per cent said that banking innovations allow them to save time and bank more quickly
  • 77 per cent value banking from virtually anywhere

For consumers, the ability to bank online (86 per cent), use the “tap and go” feature on a debit or credit card (61 per cent) and use a mobile device to pay for purchases (59 per cent) add value to their banking.


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