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November 23, 2021

Will you consume more Tim Hortons now that it accepts debit?

Here are three statements that, if true, would all warrant the same reply.Tim-hortons-alwaysfresh-ellispe-logo

1) “Hey, guess what: CBS realized Charlie Sheen is totally nuts and Two and a Half Men  was never funny in the first place. It’s cancelled!”
2) “An airport security guard lost his ring inside a traveler he was ‘patting down’ today. Everyone’s pissed, so no more embarrassing public molestations!”
3) “The day has come; Tim Hortons now accepts debit cards!”

That retort, of course -- “Finally!” Yes, it’s been a long time coming for Tims fans who, not having cash or change in their pockets, have been turned away from many Canadian locations that didn’t accept plastic.

Yet the day of reckoning is finally upon us; Tim Hortons has announced it will begin accepting debit cards as payment.

This news isn’t much to Western Canadians because, apparently unbeknownst to the rest of the country, Tims locations on that side of the nation took debit cards as early as 2003, according to the Canadian Press.

But let me tell you, this is big  news out east, as Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces have never revelled in such Tim Hortons convenience before.

Which begs the question: what took so long? Tims has long maintained it avoided rolling out debit machines at its restaurants to steer clear of making customers wait too long for the transactions to clear.

That seems, though, like a dated excuse. Anyone who’s shopped at a retailer with a good debit system connection – a Shoppers Drug Mart or a Loblaws, for example – knows the transactions now go through efficiently and, in this writer’s opinion, perhaps even faster than what it takes two humans to fumble through a cash transaction involving wallets and change and the transfer of coins and bills.

What’s more likely is that Tims avoided using debit because Interac, the technology’s Canadian organizing network, charges retailers at least seven cents per transaction for using the service. That’s profit that, probably, Tims felt it could hang onto by only accepting cash (even though it started taking MasterCard three years ago) at its restaurants.

In any case, debit will soon be rolled out at about 90 per cent of Tim Hortons’ 3,082 Canadian locations.

To which, we ask: could Canadians actually consume more  Tim Hortons now that the restaurant accepts debit? Will you, knowing that you don’t explicitly need cash to buy a coffee and doughnut anymore?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...