Canadians’ spending, using credit and debit cards, increased by 3.46 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 year-over-year, says the MonerisMetric Quarterly Report, by Moneris, a company which processes debit and credit payments. This growth however is slowing, suggesting 2017 may be a year of more moderate spending than the last two years.

MonerisMetrics provides information on spending activity in Canada by analyzing credit and debit card transaction data. The percentages cited are derived from sales volumes — the dollar values of credit and debit card transactions being processed by Moneris merchants — compared with sales volumes from the prior year.

"We don't expect to see any drastic deviations"

"As anticipated, spend rates are continuing to climb, but at a more modest level than in previous quarters," said Angela Brown, president and CEO of Moneris in an announcement issued April 20. "Given global transitions in government that could impact the economy at home, it's no surprise that Canadians are keeping an eye on how they're spending. We don't expect to see any drastic deviations from this trend over the next few quarters." 

The month of March saw spending growth reach 4.44 per cent, while in February, growth was at 0.46 per cent. In January, spending increased by 3.68 per cent. This spending increase correlates with other economic indicators, such as increases in the GDP, average weekly earnings, and retail sales in January.

Quebec saw the biggest increase in spending

Quebec saw the biggest increase in spending, reaching 5.49 per cent. New Brunswick saw a 4.59 per cent increase, while British Columbia and Ontario saw increases of 4.26 per cent and 4.18 per cent respectively. However, Alberta and Newfoundland saw a decrease in spending; Alberta’s spending went down 0.75 per cent, and Newfoundland, 1.68 per cent.

The report showed that 64.8 of all transactions were made using credit cards, while the other 35.2 per cent of transactions were made with debit cards.