How to use Apple Pay in Canada

Updated Oct. 24, 9:47 a.m.: Updated to add that iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users need to set their region to the U.S. to use Apple Pay in Canada. The update also includes a link to a video from TechSmartt, a YouTube channel that tried this out.

Apple Pay may not be available in Canada just yet, but iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users who are itching to try it can still take it for a spin – provided they have a U.S. credit card, and if they can find a store or restaurant that accepts mobile payments.

Apple’s new mobile payments system, branded as Apple Pay, rolled out in the U.S. this week. It’s still off-limits to Canadian consumers, as Canadian banks have yet to partner with Apple on the new system. But on Thursday, point-of-sales (POS) solutions provider TouchBistro put up a video showing a man paying for two coffees at a Toronto coffee shop, using Apple Pay.

To do it, he used an iPhone 6 and selected a Bank of America Visa card. Then he verified his identity using his fingerprint and Apple Touch ID, and then held the phone close to TouchBistro’s POS terminal to complete the transaction. Users should also set their iPhone 6 or 6 Plus region to the U.S.

That being said, Apple Pay should still work at any POS terminal that is outfitted with near field communication (NFC) technology, not just with TouchBistro’s machines. NFC is a type of wireless technology that can be embedded in mobile devices, and that connects with other devices over a short distance – say, a few inches away from a debit or credit machine.

“In Canada, NFC readers are everywhere, from gas pumps to vending machines and in restaurants. Canada has the hardware in place to support NFC, said Alex Barrotti, TouchBistro’s CEO, in a statement. “Now the Canadian banks need to get on board with the 500 plus banks that are already participating with Apple Pay.”

However, for now, it’s unclear whether Canadian banks have a lot of interest in working with Apple Pay. Some banks have already made forays into mobile payments – for example, CIBC already has its own mobile payment app, which allows for transactions of less than $50. And one of the key reasons for Apple’s U.S.-only launch was that it negotiated lower transaction fees with American banks, something it may not be able to pull off here in Canada.

Check out TechSmartt’s video testing out Apple Pay in Canada.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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