Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Canada Will Beat the U.S. to a Cashless Economy

Marcus Wohlsen writes for Wired:

Single-payer health care may make Canada a socialist pariah in the eyes of U.S. conservatives. But when it comes to keeping money flowing out of consumers’ pockets and into merchants’ coffers — a key characteristic of any thriving capitalist economy — Canada has its neighbor south of the border beat.

Few in the U.S. likely know, or would seem to have any reason to know, about Interac, Canada’s nationwide not-for-profit debit system. Interac accounts for more than half of all purchases Canadians make using any card, credit or debit — about 4 billion transactions annually. And it puts Canada ahead of the U.S. in the push to create a truly cashless economy.

As a Canadian, I rarely carry cash, since almost everywhere takes Interac payments. The system also works online—it costs me just $1.50 to send a payment of any size, like a wire transfer, but cheaper.