April 4, 2022, Toronto and Washington, DC: More than half of Canadians feel stress when interacting with Canada’s financial services sector and believe they would benefit from increased competition and transparency in the financial services market, according to a landmark survey commissioned by FDATA North America and Fintechs Canada. The findings indicate this is especially true among women, young people, and new Canadians. Among the biggest sources of dissatisfaction are high fees and a lack of choice.
The findings are derived from two surveys conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights. One was of a randomly-selected sample of 2,001 Canadians 18 years of age or older. The other was of a randomly-selected sample of 600 Canadian small business owners. In each, respondents were asked about their experiences with Canada’s financial services sector.
“As the government advances critically important initiatives to modernize Canada’s financial services market, including open banking and payment modernization, the voices of consumers and small businesses must be at the center of the conversation,” said Steve Boms, Executive Director of FDATA North America. “These first-of-their-kind surveys clearly demonstrate Canadians’ hunger for a more competitive, transparent, and innovative Canadian financial system.”
“At a macro level, we’ve long known that the Canadian financial services sector isn’t as productive as it could be because of barriers to competition and innovation, which is part of the reason why the government is modernizing its approach to financial sector policy,” said Alex Vronces, executive director of Fintechs Canada. “These surveys shine a light on the often-neglected human cost of less competition and innovation for consumers and businesses.”
“The survey findings show that navigating the financial services sector is a stressful experience for about half of Canadians and small business owners.” said Dan Arnold, Chief Strategy Officer at Pollara. “So it is not surprising that both audiences see the potential benefits that reforms to the sector could bring.”
- About half of Canadians (52%) and small business owners (51%) feel stress when interacting with the financial services sector. Those who operate larger small businesses (10+ employees) are significantly more stressed (72%). Moreover, the majority (54%) of these larger small business owners feel the amount of time they spend dealing with the financial services sector is getting in the way of them actually running and growing their business, twice the overall level among small business owners (26%). Immigrant small business owners are more likely to be stressed by their interactions with the sector.
- Over two-thirds of Canadians believe more competition in the financial services sector would lead to a greater choice in products (70%) and lower financial services fees (67%). Moreover, small business owners are over four times more likely to agree than disagree with the sentiment that Canadian small businesses would benefit from increased competition in the financial services sector (64% vs. 14%).
- Among specific changes tested, Canadians are most likely to feel they would personally benefit from easier ways to “shop around” to get the best possible rate (75% would benefit), easier ways to transfer money quickly and securely (73%), and tools that help make personalized investment decisions (69%).
- Among specific changes tested, small business owners are most likely to feel they would benefit from easier ways to “shop around” to get the best possible rate (73% would benefit), better ways to transfer funds between different accounts (68%), and alternatives to credit cards with lower interchange fees for merchants (62%).
- There is widespread agreement among the users of Non-Bank FinTech Apps that they are easy to use (91%), have lower fees (82%), and help save money (73%).
To access the full survey data, click here.
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Executive Director, FDATA North America
Executive Director, Fintechs Canada
About FDATA North America
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico with aggregation-based financial tools to better manage their finances.
About Fintechs Canada
Fintechs Canada is a not-for-profit association that provides a harmonized voice for technology companies that move money. Our mission is to make Canada’s financial sector more competitive and innovative, without compromising its safety and soundness. Serving millions of Canadians on a daily basis, our membership includes payment processors, financial technology companies, and financial institutions, among others.