The majority of Canadians are ditching cash and opting to pay with plastic, according to a new study.

The survey, conducted by research firm Leger on behalf of mobile payments company Square, polled 1,566 Canadians between March 5 to 8 and conducted phone interviews with 316 Canadian small businesses.

The results revealed 79 per cent of Canadians prefer paying with a debit or credit card before using cash.

More than two-thirds of respondents said they’d be more likely to make a purchase from a small business if cards were accepted. However, only 11 per cent of small business owners said they believe cards are their customers’ preferred payment method.

“Buyers' attitudes towards payments have changed and so too should local businesses,” said Cathy Vigrass, head of Canada at Square, said in a release Tuesday. “To remain competitive, no business, large or small, can afford to miss out on sales.”

Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of small businesses surveyed said they would likely always accept cash, while 22 per cent were interested in the idea of taking card only.

The findings differ from 2015 research from the Bank of Canada, which found Canadian consumers still widely use cash.  

The central bank’s findings revealed 48 per cent of transactions at larger businesses were done using cash in 2015, and that 54 per cent at small and medium-sized businesses. But overall, over half of transactions (51 per cent) are still done using cash.

Three-quarters of respondents to the Square survey admitted to carrying less cash now than in the past.

The respondents had an average of $46.50 in their wallets at the time of the polling, and admit they hadn’t visited a bank or ATM to withdraw cash in more than two weeks.