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Social policy implications for a less-cash society

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As cash use, access, and acceptance declines in Canada, vulnerable demographics are at risk of being left behind. For many, cash is more than just a method of payment. The growing pattern of electronic payments means that cash could become more scarce, threatening those who rely on it. While a less-cash ecosystem is adversely impacting individuals today, it also presents concerns for the future. Without interventions targeted at supporting cash-dependent demographics, Canada will “sleepwalk” towards an inequitable payments landscape, resulting in further undesirable outcomes for vulnerable individuals.

This policy brief will answer the following question posed by the Bank of Canada (BoC): What are the social policy implications for a less-cash society and how might it impact different population groups?

Through extensive literature review and stakeholder consultations, it has become evident that higher levels of financial exclusion for vulnerable cash-dependent demographics is the primary social policy implication of a less-cash society.

Executive summary

Full report