Canadian opinion split on biometric payments, survey finds


Considering the sensitivity of fingerprint recognition, which is typically employed in very formal settings and locations, a recent survey by Research Co. indicates that Canadians are more inclined towards making this technology more universally accessible.

According to the survey, support for using biometrics for purchases among Canadians has increased by four percentage points compared to last year, now reaching 44 per cent.

On the flip side, the proportion of Canadians who are against utilizing biometrics and body measurements for making purchases has declined by four points since last year, currently standing at 45 per cent.

The survey shows that 11 per cent of Canadians remain undecided on whether to use biometrics for purchasing purposes or not.

“More than half of Canadians aged 18-to-34 (54 per cent) would welcome a world where payments can be made through biometrics,” Research Co. President Mario Canseco said in a press release. “Their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (44 per cent) and aged 55 and over (31per cent) are not as certain.”

When respondents were asked if they expect to be able to rely on biometrics to make purchases in the next five years, 23 per cent (up five points) said they expect, while 33 per cent (up one point) foresee this option becoming available in the next 10 years.

When respondents were asked about their expectations regarding the reliance on biometrics for making purchases in the next five years, 23 per cent (up by five points) expressed that they anticipate it being an option. While 33 per cent (up one point) foresee this option becoming available within the next 10 years.

In terms of the specific methods Canadians have used to make purchases over the past month, fewer than one in five respondents (18 per cent) mentioned using cash. Credit cards were more commonly used, with 40 per cent of respondents utilizing them, while 28 per cent preferred debit cards.

A lower percentage of Canadians opted to make payments using a smartphone (7 per cent), chose e-transfers (6 per cent), or relied on checks (2 per cent).

Credit cards are the preferred payment method for half of all purchases made by Canadians aged 55 and over (50 per cent). In contrast, reliance on this method is lower among Canadians aged 35 to 54 (41 per cent) and even lower among those aged 18 to 34 (31 per cent).

Across all age groups, fewer than three in ten transactions are conducted using a debit card. Canadians aged 18 to 34 are more inclined to use their smartphones for purchases (10 per cent) compared to their older counterparts.

A majority of Canadians (63 per cent) reported that in the past month, there was at least one occasion when they didn’t have any paper money on hand and had to use their credit or debit card to make a purchase of less than $10.

Ontarians (71 per cent) and Albertans (70 per cent) are more likely to report having made a small purchase using a credit or debit card in the past month.


Results are based on an online study conducted from August 17 to August 19, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error, which measures sample variability, is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.


Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here