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.
Published By Harry Miller
Rethinking the boundaries between economic life and coronavirus death – TheChronicleHerald.ca
As governments around the world begin to reopen their borders, it’s clear that efforts to revive the economy are redrawing the lines between who will prosper, who will suffer and who will die.
Emerging strategies for restoring economic growth are forcing vulnerable populations to choose between increased exposure to death or economic survival. This is an unacceptable choice that appears natural only because it prioritizes the economy over people already considered marginal or expendable.
The management of borders has always been central to capitalist economic growth, and has only intensified with neoliberal reforms of the last several decades. Neoliberal economic growth has increasingly become tied to opening up national borders to the flow of money and the selective entry of low-wage labour with limited access to rights.
Read more: What exactly is neoliberalism?
Nation-state borders regulate this flow, and in so doing, reconstitute the borders between people: those whose lives must be safeguarded and those who are considered disposable.
COVID-19 has brought heightened visibility to these border-making practices, with the pandemic intensifying the decisions between economic and social life.
Exceptions made for seasonal workers
Anxious to avert the potential loss of as much as 95 per cent of this year’s vegetable and fruit production, temporary farm workers were deemed the essential backbone of the agri-food economy. For the health and safety of Canadians and seasonal farm workers, farmers required the farm workers to self-isolate for 14 days in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
But the deaths of two farm workers in Windsor, Ont., and serious outbreaks of COVID-19 infections among migrant workers on farms across the country, have revealed systemic forms of racism that reveal the priority given to profit maximization over the health and safety of Black and brown migrant farmers.
Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, migrant farmers are not entitled to standard labour rights such as a minimum wage, overtime pay or days off, and federal oversight over housing conditions has been notoriously inadequate.
With worker welfare left largely to the discretion of employers, it is not altogether surprising that reports of crowded and unsanitary housing, an inability to socially distance, delays in responding to COVID-19 symptoms and threats of reprisals for speaking out have become rife throughout the agri-food economy. Even as COVID-19 cases soar in Ontario, provincial guidelines make it possible for infected farm workers to continue working if they are asymptomatic.
It is a tragic irony that the quest for a better life among migrant workers should be one that demands levels of exposure to abuse, threats, infection and premature death that few citizens are likely to face.
Choosing between health and the economy
Now, as governments speak of opening borders more widely due to the economic costs of COVID-19, countries are beginning to make new, challenging decisions between public health and economic growth.
For example, across the Caribbean, the abrupt closure of international borders decimated the region’s tourism industry overnight. Estimating a contraction of the industry of up to 70 per cent, Standard & Poor has already predicted that some islands will experience significantly deteriorated credit ratings.
For example, with tourism accounting for half of Jamaica’s foreign exchange earnings and more than 350,000 jobs, it is not entirely surprising that the tourism minister has justified re-opening as “not just about tourism. It is a matter of economic life or death.” It’s also not surprising that resort chains like Sandals and airlines alike have been eager to resume business as usual.
But assurances that “vacations are back,” even as new cases emerge, ring hollow given that most Caribbean countries have long struggled with overburdened health-care systems. And even with new protocols for screening, isolating or restricting the mobility of infected visitors, it is likely that the region’s poorer citizens — many of whom are women in front-line hospitality services — will bear the brunt of the costs of new infections.
The dependence of Caribbean and Latin American governments on tourism and remittance dollars, and Canada’s dependence on Black and brown people to carry out low-paid essential work, are unequal dependencies that are intimately tied. For the most vulnerable, these dependencies mark the stark overlap between economic life and COVID-19 death.
Yet COVID-19 has also presented us with a unique opportunity to rethink the border inequalities that have governed our lives and the primacy of the economy within it.
It forces us to ask: Who does “the economy” serve? What types of activities are valued or dismissed when we prioritize economic growth? Whose life is valued, and whose continues to be expendable?
Prioritizing the economy over the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable should never be an acceptable fix.
This is a collaborative article written by members of the Global Economies and Everyday Lives Lab at Queen’s University, Canada. Nathalia Ocasio Santos, Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin, Priscilla Apronti, Hilal Kara and Tesfa Peterson co-authored this piece.
Carolyn Prouse, Assistant Professor of Human Geography, Queen’s University, Ontario; Beverley Mullings, Professor of Geography, Queen’s University, Ontario; Dairon Luis Morejon Perez, Phd Student in Geography and Urban Planning, Queen’s University, Ontario, and Shannon Clarke, PhD Student in Geography, Queen’s University, Ontario
Ukraine economy likely fell 10% in second quarter, full recovery not seen this year: Reuters poll – The Guardian
By Natalia Zinets
KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s economy will be shown to have fallen 10% in the second quarter year-on-year due to restrictions to tame the coronavirus outbreak, and it will not be able to recover fully in the next six months, according to a Reuters monthly poll of analysts.
It would mark the deepest decline since the economic aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of military conflict in the industrial east, which led to a 14.5% year-on-year fall in the second quarter of 2015.
“Economic activity figures are likely to reveal the full extent of the crisis; we expect the decline to deepen to 10% year-on-year in the second quarter,” analysts for the ICU investment company said in written comments.
Ukraine has secured a $5 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund to fight the economic slump, but the market was rattled last week by the shock resignation of the central bank governor.
A robust performance in the farming sector, which has started the grain harvest, may offset some of the damage to the economy from the coronavirus pandemic, but consumer demand and investor activity will remain weak in 2020, analysts said.
They forecast Ukraine’s gross domestic product to shrink 5.5% year-on-year in the third quarter and 3.0% in the fourth quarter.
The State Statistics Service will publish its second-quarter GDP data in mid-August. In the first quarter, the economy declined by 1.3% compared to 2.9% growth in the first quarter last year.
The twelve analysts polled by Reuters see the economy shrinking 6.5% for the full year compared to growth of 3.2% in 2019. The government expects a -4.8% drop in 2020.
“We project GDP to start recovering from 3Q20, but at a slow pace due to lower incomes and precautionary behaviour of consumers and investors,” the ICU said.
The government began imposing restrictions on businesses and people’s movement in March. It began easing those restrictions in May, allowing the operations of public transport, shops, hotels and open-air terraces of restaurants to resume.
But a sharp daily rise of new cases since then has prevented the government from relaxing more restrictions. Ukraine has reported 49,043 coronavirus cases, including 1,262 deaths.
(Editing by Matthias Williams)
The economy may be opening up – what about your wallet? – TheChronicleHerald.ca
This was supposed to be the year my boyfriend and I got our finances on track. We had made a pact that we’d keep each other accountable so by the time we get married next year, we’d have our debts paid off. We started out doing OK until I had to fly home in March because my dad’s health took a turn for the worse. While I was away the borders closed and by the time I got back, my job was gone. My boyfriend kept working and thankfully could cover our bills because he was spending so much less during the lockdown. I’ve recently found a new job and we’ve been able to stick with spending less on almost everything. It’s a good feeling getting back in control of our money. We’re worried, though, that we’ll go back to spending the way we used to as our life becomes more normal. What can we do? ~Anna
There are a lot of things many of us learned during the pandemic about our money habits. For those whose incomes stayed mostly the same, many found extra opportunities to save, or even help those who needed additional support. If your income was drastically reduced, you likely learned what you wanted to change about your money habits once you were back on your feet. And for people who managed to mostly get by with government income and support programs, they realized what their essential expenses truly were. A common theme throughout this time, however, was that many of us developed new money habits that would be worth maintaining over the coming months and years.
The trick will be finding ways to keep up with our new habits and not fall back into old traps. As you start spending again, be conscious of some of the money traps that could have been inadvertently keeping you in debt. Once you know what to watch for, it will be easier to steer yourself toward success.
Here are four money habits that don’t always look like traps, but can wreak havoc on your bank account and cause big bills:
1. Giving in to retail therapy
As the economy recovers and you want to return to your more normal life, it will be very tempting to restart your spending. Retailers will promote enticing offers and it will be hard to escape the thought that you might be missing out on a really great deal. However,
resist the urge to give in to retail therapy
, both in person and online.
To motivate yourself for long-term success with your financial goals, incorporate a little of what you really want into your budget. If you’re also
paying off debt
, you might need to start with small wants. This is easier to do right now with our choices for spending still somewhat restricted. For instance, the vacation of your dreams likely isn’t possible right now, so start by budgeting for a holiday you
As you pay your debts off, there’s more room in your budget to afford more of the things you really want. To help yourself stay motivated, reward yourself a little along the way. Then before you know it, you’ll be debt free and on to choices in line with goals for a financially stable future.
2. Committing to long-term contracts when life is in transition
When your circumstances are in the midst of change, that is not the time to make long-term commitments. Transition times in life can happen when we least expect them, and COVID-19 has brought on some of the most significant changes many people will ever face.
There are certain times, however, when we can expect change, and not all changes are bad. When we’re between jobs, moving homes, starting a family or going back to school, these can be exciting times of change — but excitement and stress can tempt us to create order and settle ourselves into a routine with a new fitness membership, leased vehicle or cellphone contract, for instance.
Given that we face many unanticipated changes in our lives, read the fine print when making a long-term financial commitment. Know what it would cost to break a contract and weigh your options. Sometimes a slightly higher month-to-month arrangement or a loan versus a lease gets you ahead in the long run.
3. Participating in expensive hobbies
Do you have hobbies you really enjoy? Maybe they’re a social outlet, provide you with exercise and a way to de-stress, or they could be a creative outlet. Sometimes we have family hobbies that involve costly equipment, travel, or come with accommodation expenses. The money we spend on hobbies has likely been left in our bank account or spent on other essentials during the pandemic, so now is a great time to consider options and see if there’s a cheaper way to go. For example:
● Instead of a gym membership, maybe you can get your exercise outdoors or virtually from home.
● If your kids normally participate in a variety of activities, consider what they missed most during the lockdown and only spend on those lessons or classes.
● Could you rent what you need for recreation, e.g., a truck, trailer, boat, jet skis or snowmobiles, rather than make payments on vehicles and pay for their storage, upkeep and insurance?
While hobbies might feel like a necessity, we usually have flexibility in how we do them. Evaluate your choices with your goals in mind and calculator in hand. With a period of time behind us where our normal activities were put on hold, it’s easier to only go back to what we genuinely enjoyed and now want to spend money on.
4. Paying off debt too fast
You might be tempted to
pay off your debts as fast
as possible, but paying them off too fast could keep you broke. It makes sense to pay off debt, especially high-interest credit card debt. However, spending on debt payments without setting money aside for emergencies means that when something unexpected happens, you need to reach for credit to pay for it. One big car repair bill could wipe out months of extra payments to your credit cards in one swipe.
Rather than aggressively paying off your car loan, for instance, a wiser strategy is to pay it off as quickly as you reasonably can within a balanced approach; let your budget be your guide.
Balance might include
, e.g., biweekly rather than monthly. It might mean making small top-ups to payments, even accelerated ones, by decreasing discretionary spending. For instance, you might reduce how often you eat out to come up with an extra $20 or $50 biweekly that can be paid toward your debts. Or it could mean using lump sums of money, e.g., part of a tax refund or bonus from work, to make periodic payments against the principal. Check with your lender to see what your options are, but car loans generally allow extra payments at any time.
Preparation is the key to success
Have you ever heard that preparation is the secret to success? Think of a diet — if you’ve ever been on one, when hunger hits and you’ve got nothing ready to eat, that’s when you’re most likely to cheat. The same is true for your money. When an urge to spend hits or an emergency expense needs to be paid for, if you don’t have a plan for where the money will come from, you’re likely to grab whatever is available. With unexpected expenses, it’s unfortunately usually a credit card. Relying on credit to make ends meet rather than on your own savings is a money trap that will keep you broke.
The way to escape this cycle of debt is to spend less on day-to-day expenses than you earn, and the pandemic has shown many of us how we can do that. If you’re not sure how much to set aside, start with whatever you can afford.
Draw up a budget
to firm up your numbers and then set aside money according to your plan.
strategies that make saving easier
. For instance, you can set up automatic transfers through your online banking on payday to stash away a predetermined amount of cash before you get a chance to spend it. Out of sight, out of mind. Ensure that you have a separate savings account or two set up to hold onto your savings. If you leave it in your chequing account, it’s bound to disappear. To
keep your saved money safe from yourself
, ask your financial institution to remove the savings accounts from your debit card.
The bottom line on sticking with good money habits
If how you’ve been managing your money until now has kept you broke and hasn’t helped you reach your goals, try something new. Question each purchase you make. Comb through your household bills to ensure they meet your needs and that you’re getting good value for what you’re spending. Switch up your routine to continually force yourself to do things differently. Improve your money skills and knowledge of personal finances by reading blogs, books or asking qualified professionals. Then, instead of trying to figure out how to make ends meet, stick with what might be the most valuable outcome of the pandemic: work towards having fewer ends.
Scott Hannah is president of the Credit Counselling Society, a non-profit organization. For more information about managing your money or debt, contact Scott by
or call 1-888-527-8999.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020
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