Mobile Payments Come to Canada
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18 May 2012Zilvinas Bareisis
I recently blogged about all the different mobile payments initiatives in the UK. As if not wanting to be left behind, this week Canada had a few announcements of its own. On Monday, the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) introduced mobile payments guidelines. And on Tuesday, Rogers Communications, a Telco, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce announced that they would be launching a mobile wallet later this year. Canada seems to have many of the ingredients for mobile payments to succeed. The banking and telco markets are relatively concentrated making it (in theory) an easier task to cooperate on industry-wide initiatives. The country has implemented EMV and is boasting one of the highest use rates of contactless cards - according to MasterCard, over 10% of their transactions in Canada are contactless. And the smartphone adoption is already high and continues to rise. However, I couldn't help but shake off a bit of a "me too" feeling about the announcements. While the guidelines are obviously a welcome document for the Canadian market, it follows a long line of similar documents from EPC, GSMA, SCA, MobeyForum and other organisations. And the wallet announcement reminds of a Quick Tap from BarclayCard and Orange, one of the first NFC initiatives launched in the UK - it's a single MNO, single bank and a single platform (Blackberry) solution. Given that it is a SIM-based solution, scaling on other platforms, particularly Android, should be possible. Adding more banks and more operators might prove to be more difficult. So, congratulations on taking the first steps. However, more will be needed to make mobile payments ubiquitous in Canada.