As one of the world’s leading digital payment firms, the numbers reported by Visa are impressive. With more than 3 billion cards in circulation worldwide and over 46 million merchants spread over 200 countries, they completed a total volume of transactions of $11 trillion as of June 2018. Yet, it is possible that Visa will become even more important in Canada in the years to come. What are the factors behind their possible growth and what might it mean for Canadians?
What can Visa be used for currently?
It is worth remembering that Visa is already widely accepted by merchants across Canada. The Visa Canada site confirms that over 44,000 merchants in this country accept Visa Debit cards. Their cards can currently be used to pay for a range of different products and services. For example, in terms of online shopping Visa can be used to pay in stores such as eBay and the Real Canadian Superstore. You can also use this card when looking for deals at Walmart.
Visa cards can also be used to pay in the Microsoft store, with Windows 10X PCs from ASUS, Dell and HP expected to hit the market in 2020. In-store point of sale machines will let you pay with one of these cards in the majority of shops around the country too. And they can be used to pay for many different types of entertainment services. For instance, another possibility comes from the Betway Casino website where customers can fund their accounts using either one of two different payment methods in order to play slots, blackjack, roulette, and other casino games in a safe, secure environment. In this same way, you can choose to pay for many other kinds of services in the country. It is possible to pay for Netflix’s streaming services to watch big NBA games or to book your Air Canada flights using a card. Air Canada also offers the CIBC Air Canada® AC conversion™ Visa Prepaid Card and describes it as the easiest way to travel with as many as ten currencies on a single card.
The growth of online and cashless purchases
There is no doubt that the number of financial transactions carried out using cards is growing all the time. Indeed, Canada is regarded as being one of the leading nations in terms of introducing new, cashless technology. Sweden is an example of what can happen when a country moves towards a cashless society. It is reported that just 2% of transactions are carried out here using cash. Studies suggest that this number will fall to under 0.5% in the near future. As result, the amount of money in circulation in Sweden has dropped drastically in recent years, with a 45% reduction noted from 2007. In addition, estimates carried out by BCG suggest that moving to a cashless economy could benefit some countries’ annual GDP by up to 3%.
What does the arrival of Revolut mean?
One of the important advances in this area could come with Revolut’s arrival in Canada. This is one of Europe’s fastest-growing financial companies. According to the Revolut website, over seven million people already use their services to spend or to transfer money. While they work with MasterCard in Europe, Revolut issued a statement confirming that they would use Visa to expand into 24 new markets globally. This will take the total number of countries in which they are present up to 56. These new countries include Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as a number of countries in Latin America and Asia. This new arrival into the market will give Canadians some extra reasons to use Visa.
The future of Visa in Canada
As we have seen, there are a couple of different factors that should influence the continued growth of Visa in Canada. First of all, there is the move toward a cashless society that will see more and more people using their cards instead of physical notes and coins.
Secondly, the arrival of Revolut is a sign that Visa is looking at embracing new technologies to increase their reach and appeal. The combination of these factors should help to ensure that Visa becomes the main payment method for more Canadians than ever before.
City reacts to Aurora Cannabis announcement
“I’ve been talking a lot about Aurora around Medicine Hat since April of 2018 and celebrating the fact that they came here, chose us over Quebec or anywhere else in Canada they could have gone, and what a great thing it is for the community and the jobs and just the optimism,” he said. “I’ve sensed an increase of optimism in the community.
“When I heard this news yesterday, it was a setback, and I’m disappointed. They’re a private company, this has nothing to do with the City of Medicine Hat. They’re free to make any decision they need to make.”
In its report, Aurora cited lower than expected revenue from cannabis as a reason for the decision.
The decision about the construction will save Aurora a total of $190 million dollars.
Lisa Kowalchuk, executive director of the Medicine Hat and District Chamber of Commerce, says she believes Aurora remains committed to Medicine Hat.
“Aurora has very much been committed to our community and very invested in our community,” she said. “They re very engaged within our community and with our chamber. So I don’t see them going away anytime soon.”
CHAT News attempted to speak with Aurora Cannabis on Friday, but were instead provided a statement, which clarified its position from Thursday.
“There has been no halt to construction at the facility,” wrote Michelle Lefler, VP Communications at Aurora, on Friday. “We are continuing to build with adjusted timelines that are more closely aligned with how cannabis markets develop.
The statement continues, “We expect to have at least six flower rooms completed and in operation in 2020, for a total of 238,000 square feet, which includes the mother room. As was done with Aurora Sky and is the case with all Sky-Class facilities, we will pursue a phased approach to bringing additional grow rooms online, and still intend to build 30 grow rooms at Sun.”
“Additional operations at the facility will be activated as global demand develops, with a target date for full operations in 2021. Previously, we had intended to build at an accelerated speed. This is a more normalized pace for a project of this size and is aligned with how markets are growing.”
The company adds they remain committed to investment in Medicine Hat, and still intends to hire around 800 people to work at the facility once its completed.
Clugston adds he remains optimistic about the facility being completed.
We remain committed to investment in the Medicine Hat community as planned. At this time, we still intend to hire a final staff complement of around 800 people upon facility completion. We want to make sure that all local and government partners continue to work with us to support our commitments to significant investment in Alberta’s economy.
“As an optimist, they’ve shown interest and invested obviously a lot of money in the facility, and I really do hope and believe that it will be up and running at 100 per cent,” he said.
Clugston says council will meet with Aurora executives in a closed-door session prior to Monday’s city council meeting. He adds the meeting was planned before Thursday’s announcement.
CN conductors union gives 72-hour strike notice
Canadian National Railways conductors, trainpersons and yardpersons have given strike notice ahead of a Tuesday deadline.
The union, which represents 3,200 workers, provided the 72-hour notice today as contract negotiations continue over the weekend.
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference warned in October it was prepared to launch job action after over six months of unsuccessful talks.
A strike could begin at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 19 now that the notice has been provided.
The company says its offer to enter into binding arbitration was declined by the union.
The workers, who are mostly located in major urban centres across Canada, have been without a contract since July 23.
CN Rail confirms layoffs
A spokesperson for CN said some employees would be placed on furlough and management and union job numbers would be cut “due to a weakening of many sectors of the economy.”
“These adjustments have already started to take place across the network,” senior media relations adviser Alexandre Boulé said in an emailed statement.
“CN would like to express gratitude to the employees who will be leaving the company and thank them for their service.”
He would not confirm how many jobs would be affected.
The news was first reported by the Globe and Mail on Friday afternoon, citing a source that was not authorized to speak publicly. The Globe reported that there would be roughly 1,600 job losses in North America.
According to its website, CN transports more than $250 billion worth of goods annually across its 32,000-kilometre rail network within Canada and the U.S.
The company says it has about 24,000 staff.
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