Looking forward: The way we pay
The Task Force for the Payments System Review will provide recommendations to help guide the evolution of the payments system in Canada by the end of 2011.
Payments evolve. From iron bars in ancient Rome to paper money originating in China a thousand years ago, the way we pay has always reflected economic and technological change.
Today, payments include cash, cheques, credit and debit cards, electronic funds transfers, reward points, gift cards, and virtual currencies used online. No matter what shape they take, payments are simply how we buy and sell things.
Every year, Canadians make 24 billion payments worth more than 44 trillion dollars. These payments allow people to run households, make it possible for businesses to operate, and let governments fund essential programs.
While the Canadian payments system is reliable and secure, the payments business is undergoing a dramatic shift. Just as the industrial revolution brought about massive change in production and manufacturing, the information revolution will change our payments system.
A digital economy is emerging, and Canada's payments system must keep pace. Innovative players challenge the existing payments infrastructure. Smart phones bring the promise of instant digital transactions to our fingertips. However, Canadian consumers and businesses continue to rely on paper-based payment and invoicing systems not intended for the digital age.
The Task Force has recently posted the discussion paper, The Way We Pay: Transforming the Canadian Payments System, which elaborates on the goal of becoming a world leader in payments by 2020, and carves out the elements of a proposed Governance Framework.
The Conversation Hub is also a great place to learn. Check out our video crash-course on the future of payments, facts and questions we want you to think about, and follow us at @cdnpaymentsys on Twitter or on Facebook.
Your feedback will be essential in transforming ideas into actionable recommendations. By working together we can develop a shared understanding of the issues, find common ground, and define a clear way forward.