OTTAWA -- Cash is no longer king in the City of Ottawa.

A new report by Square payments company shows Ottawa is now Canada’s most cashless city, with residents paying for more purchases with plastic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Square says before the COVID-19 pandemic began, 31.3 per cent of all purchases in Ottawa was paid for with cash. Since the pandemic began, cash sales now account for 1.7 per cent of all purchases.

The report shows Ottawa now has the highest rate of payments made with plastic in Canada, at 98.3 per cent of all purchases paid for with cards. Montreal is second at 97.2 per cent of all purchases paid for by cards.

Square economist Felipe Chacon says, “In the two months since social-distancing, Canadians have moved away from cash at warp speed, in part due to safety concerns around handling cash, and in part the increase in online orders.”

Surrey, B.C. is the top city for cash payments in Canada, with 23 per cent of all payments still made by cash. Vancouver is second, with 15 per cent of all purchases paid for with cash.

Across Canada, businesses seeing the highest rate of purchases paid for by cards include breweries, wineries and distilleries, food and drink vendors and leisure and music entertainment.