Most research on the extent and nature of usage of the AFS sector tends to conflate users of cheque cashing and payday loans services, although there may well be significant differences between users of these two services. Use of cheque cashing services is not widespread, but appears to be more common among low-income persons. A survey prepared for the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) in December 2006 indicated that seven per cent, or approximately 1.5 million Canadians had used a cheque cashing service within the previous year.[6] By contrast, a 1999 survey in the Jane/Finch area of Toronto indicated that 26 per cent of those surveyed had used a cheque cashing service.[7]

Two recent surveys examining the characteristics of persons using the services of cheque cashing/payday loans businesses had somewhat different results. In 2005, the FCAC conducted survey research through Ipsos-Reid on Canadians’ experiences with, and motivations for, using cheque cashing/payday loan services. The FCAC Ipsos-Reid survey indicated that persons using cheque cashing services were more likely to be men, relatively young (between the ages of 18 and 34), reside in urban areas, have a household income of less than $30,000 per year, and interestingly, have some post-secondary education.[8] An Environics survey conducted for the CPLA indicated that users of the services provided by these businesses are somewhat more likely to be single (35 per cent as opposed to 25 per cent of the general population), have dependent children (47 per cent as opposed to 32 per cent of the general population), and have a lower income (49 per cent of customers had a household income of less than $35,000 per year, as opposed to 27 per cent of the Canadian population). This survey did not find any significant difference based on gender, and found that users had an average age of 39 years.[9]

No information was gathered as to whether persons using these services are more or less likely to be racialized, newcomers, Aboriginal persons, older persons, persons with disabilities, or lone parents. However, given that families that are lone-parent, racialized, newcomer, Aboriginal, or include persons with disabilities are disproportionately likely to be low-income, persons with these characteristics may be more likely to be users of cheque cashing/payday loan businesses.

Previous Next
First Page Last Page
Table of Contents