B.C.’s capital is also Canada’s cash capital.
A report conducted throughout the course of the pandemic has found that Victoria had the highest percentage of cash transactions out of all major Canadian cities.
Payment company Square Incorporated examined millions of transactions made at local businesses in major cities to see what payment methods people were using.
The report found that Victorians are using cash to pay for three in 10 purchases at local businesses, the highest of any Canadian city, and far more than the national average of one-in-five.
Square Economist Felipe Chacon says this isn’t a new trend for B.C.’s capital.
“They had higher cash usage rates even prior to the pandemic, looking back to December of ’19, January of ’20,” he said.
Whether it’s the city’s older age demographic or more ATM access, Chacon says it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why cash is king in Victoria, but says throughout the pandemic fewer businesses in B.C.’s capital have adopted online shopping compared to other Canadian cities.
“Similarly to the high cash usage rates in Victoria there’s actually lower online transaction adoption in businesses…so they’re kind of going hand-in-hand in a way that we didn’t see in other cities,” Chacon said.
The report also found that one-in-five local businesses aren’t accepting cash anymore, compared to one in 20 at this time last year.
However, the majority of businesses in Victoria’s downtown core are taking cash, and say it doesn’t matter how you pay, but what does matter is that people continue to support local.
“There’s not as much traffic, there’s not many tourists, there’s not the cruise ships, so just coming out and supporting local whether it’s cash or card, just try your best to support those small businesses instead of going to bigger companies,” said Migration Boutique employee Kaitie Zeilstra.
Whether it’s the clink of coins or the swipe of a card, especially in a pandemic, all dollars are welcome.