Apple Pay may be coming to Canada sooner rather than later

Canadians have been watching for months as consumers in the U.S. have enjoyed Apple’s mobile payments platform, but several reports this week indicate Apple Pay may be coming to Canada sooner rather than later.

The Wall Street Journal reported back in April that Apple was in talks with the major Canadian banks for a launch of Apple Pay this fall, and it appears that the expected November launch is still on track. The iPhone in Canada blog reported this week that TD Bank included an Apple Pay reference on its web site under “ways to pay” in a possible premature web slip, and the blog also cited sources at BMO is also working to support Apple Pay in Canada for debit and credit cards.

Jonathan Magder, Canadian payments lead with Accenture Strategy, said it appears Apple Pay will soon be in Canada.

“All the banks and card networks are under very tight non-disclosure agreements not to discuss Apple Pay, and really all the banks are at the point where they’re preparing from a marketing standpoint for when it comes to Canada,” said Magder. “The important point is this is a very exciting time for the mobile payments market in Canada. We have some vendors here today, and hopefully this will help accelerate it.”

Even with Apple’s coming entry to the Canadian payments market, Magdersaid for the needle to truly move on mobile payment adoption in Canada, the focus needs to move beyond just payments. Banks, retailers and technology companies need to broaden support for pre-purchase discovery and post-purchase completion including coupons, surveys and e-receipts.

Accenture will release its North American Consumer Payments Survey results next week, and Magder said the Canadian results made clear wider adoption will require the industry to move beyond payments. Of those already using mobile payment technology, 73 per cent said they would increase their spend if there was rewards, and 79 per cent said they’d spend more if they received special offers based on transaction history. And the results were similar for those not yet using the technology.

Still, Magder said Apple’s entry would certainly drive greater consumer interest.

“Right not the iPhone is the one that doesn’t have payments capability because Apple controls it. It will be good to have, but it will be one of a number of solutions,” said Magder. “I’m personally excited to use it because I have an iPhone. But if there’s not offers or coupons or offers to use it, I could tap my wallet as easily as my phone.”

The overall mobile payments market is still shaking out, as each of the players figured out what its role should be. The key is making transactions simple and easy, said Magder. When you go into a store you think about what you’re going to buy, not how you’re going to buy it.

Banks will definitely have their role. According to Accenture’s survey, 91 per cent of Canadian consumers said they trust their bank over all other players to securely manage their personal data.

“That’s the role banks can play,” said Magder. “Use customer data to provide a more tailored, personalized solution to consumers.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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