SIA beats Vocalink and CGI for Canadian payments gig

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Payments Canada, which provides clearing and settlements, has hired payments infrastructure firm SIA as the application provider for its new high-value payments system, dubbed Lynx.

Payments Canada chose SIA over the Montreal-based CGI and Vocalink (a Mastercard company), which were part of a competitive process.

The construction of the Lynx high-value payments systems is a core element of Payments Canada’s multiyear payments modernization initiative that was announced in 2016. The new Lynx system will replace Canada’s current Large Value Payments System and will be based on the global ISO 20022 messaging standard.

“SIA has a proven track record of delivering innovative, sophisticated solutions across the global payments ecosystem making them well-suited to support with the delivery of Canada’s new high-value payments system,” Gerry Gaetz, Payments Canada's president and CEO, said in the press release.

The selection of SIA as the Lynx application provider is subject to negotiation of the final agreement and final regulatory approval. In the near future, Payments Canada, SIA and other industry stakeholders will develop a new version of Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) application solution to deliver on the needs identified during consultations.

SIA has provided payment infrastructures and services in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The establishment of the new Payments Canada core system marks the first project for SIA in North America, Nicola Cordone, CEO of the Milan-based SIA, said in the press release.

SIA recently acquired First Data’s card processing infrastructure in a group of European countries including Greece, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia for $440 million covering 13.3 million payment cards, 1.4 billion yearly transactions, call center services, 6,500 ATMs and 300,000 point of sale terminals. Under the deal, roughly 1,400 First Data employees were to transfer to SIA. First Data said the deal closed on Oct. 1 and that the annual revenue of the businesses in 2017 exceeded €100 million (about $115 million).

Payments Canada also announced it recently launched a procurement process for the combined hosting and system integration services in support of the end-to-end delivery and operations of Lynx. Vendor selection for the hosting and systems integration work is expected to be completed in 2019.

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