Apple Pay Now Reaches All Canadian Banks

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The last three of Canada’s large banks today said they’ve launched Apple Pay, joining the country's Interac debit network and the company's few other financial providers to enable Apple's digital wallet to completely blanket Canada.

Bank of Montreal, TD and Scotiabank went live with Apple Pay on June 1, while CIBC and RBC launched the app on May 10. ATB Financial, operated by the Province of Alberta, and the finance arm of retailer Canadian Tire, also recently launched in-app payments for the credit cards each organization issues, and Canada’s Interac debit network had also previously announced support for Apple Pay.

Initially American Express was the only financial services provider supporting Apple Pay when it launched in Canada late last year.

RBC was one of the first banks to launch a mobile wallet for Android via HCE, and several other Canadian banks are said to be developing proprietary wallet apps too.

Contactless cards already are a popular payment approach in Canada, but mobile payment adoption has a long way to go to catch up with it, said Christie Christelis, president of Technology Strategies International, an Ontario-based payments industry researcher and consultant.

“NFC-enabled phones still have to make their way into the [Canadian] market en masse, and while some mobile payment options do exist, they don’t work seamlessly for every customer, on any phone, with any payment credential, over any network,” Christelis said.

Christelis expects this to change soon. By 2020, he predicts more than 75% of Canadians’ handsets will have NFC capability, and there will be greater access and interoperability of available mobile wallets.

Canadians’ familiarity with contactless payment also may help drive adoption of mobile payments. Five out of six Canadians who own a contactless card use it to tap and pay an average of three times per month, according to Technology Strategies International.

“The contactless market has evolved to the point in Canada where consumers are frustrated if the merchant doesn’t accept contactless payments, and merchants have placed signs on their POS terminals apologizing for it,” Christelis said.

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