Half of Canadians Would Welcome Biometrics to Make Purchases

Only 8% believe the technology will be available sometime in the next 10 years.

Vancouver, BC [February 21, 2019] – A significant proportion of Canadians would be comfortable with the use of biometrics (such as fingerprints, palm recognition or iris scans) to pay for things, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 49% of Canadians say they “definitely” or “probably” would like to see people relying on biometrics to make purchases, while two-in-five (40%) would not and 11% are not sure.

“Canadian Men (57%) and Millennials (54%) are definitely more likely to endorse biometrics at this stage,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “There is also a higher craving for this type of technology from Quebecers (66%) and Albertans (55%).”

However, two-in-five Canadians (40%) say they do not expect biometric payments to materialize in the next 20 years, and 15% foresee that they will never be available.

When asked about the way they currently pay for things, Canadians rely on a combination of sources. One third of payments (34%) involve a debit card, followed by cash (31%) and credit cards (24%).

Across the country, 8% of all transactions are conducted through a smartphone—a proportion that climbs to 18% among Canadians aged 18-to-34—and 3% are done with a cheque.

Residents of Atlantic Canada (39%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (37%) and Alberta (also 37%) rely more heavily on debit cards than those in other parts of the country.

Seven-in-ten Canadians (70%) report that there was a time in the past month when they did not have any actual money (coins or bills) on them and had to use their credit card, debit card or smartphone to make a purchase of less than $10.


Results are based on an online study conducted from February 2 to February 5, 2019, 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.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca