Millions more Canadians could finally have access to Apple Pay, with the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant announcing today that the big five national banks, and payment networks Interac, Visa, and MasterCard have all pledged to support the mobile payment system.
Until yesterday, Apple Pay was available in Canada only to American Express cardholders, not including those issued by Scotiabank, and without the support of any of the country’s five leading banks, limiting the potential market considerably. But now Interac says that it will be able to start supporting Apple Pay on cards issued by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), with Interac cards from BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, and TD cards to be supported soon. Also, MasterCard will support Apple Pay with cards issued by RBC, CIBC, Canadian Tire Bank, and ATB Financial. BMO customers will also be able to use Apple Pay with Mastercard in a few weeks, according to a press release, and in the coming months BMO, TD and Scotiabank will add the service for Visa cards.
Canadians that now find a supported bank card in their wallet will still need the right hardware to make contactless purchases – an iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s plus or an Apple Watch. Retailers that are outfitted to accept contactless payments from Mastercard Paypass, Visa payWave, or Interac Flash cards will be able to accept Apple Pay. (Interac points out that cardholders don’t need to have a Flash card to be able to add it to Apple Pay).
Since Apple Pay was launched in the U.S. in 2014, Canada’s banks have said little publicly about their intent to support the service. Last year when the launch was done solely with the support of American Express, some wondered if negotiations with banks were stalled. American banks pay Apple a 0.15 per cent fee on all purchases, and British banks have negotiated a lower fee than that, according to a report in the Globe and Mail.