OTTAWA — Being able to pay for goods and services electronically with credit and debit cards has helped boost the economy by making it easier to spend money, a new report by Visa Canada suggests.Electronic payment technology has helped make international tourism easier, as well as fuelled online shopping, which would be far more difficult without easy ways to pay, the report found.Tom Hester, senior economist at Visa, said as we move to more efficient payment mechanisms it allows consumers to walk around with much more powerful wallets.[np-related]“If you add up the buying power in your wallet with your credit and debit cards, it can be tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of purchasing power that you would never carry if you had to just carry cash,” Hester said. “That facilitates commerce.”The Visa report said that from 2006 to 2010, the number of credit and debit transactions in the country grew 25%, from $363.4-billion to $455.4-billion. The report went on to suggest that nearly one quarter of Canadian economic growth over the past 25 years was driven by electronic payments.A recent report by the Bank of Canada suggests the majority of transactions by Canadians are still by cash. The bank found that cash accounted for 54% of all transactions, followed by debit cards with 25% and credit cards with 19%. However, credit cards led in terms of payment values, accounting for 41% of expenses.

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