UGO Wallet hits milestone but Canadians slow to embrace mobile payments

One of Canada’s leading mobile payment systems is celebrating a major milestone as it prepares to celebrate its first year of service.

UGO Wallet, hailed as Canada’s first open digital wallet, surpassed 100,000 users just shy of its one-year anniversary.

“This was an aggressive target, and achieving it in such a short timeframe demonstrates that customers are adopting this unique and innovative mobile solution,” said Alec Morley, CEO of UGO, in a statement. “When we first launched with our integrated payment and loyalty platform, we promised our customers that we would continually evolve our wallet to meet their needs. We’ve kept that promise, and we’re not done yet.”

UGO Wallet is an app that allows users to store information for a variety of payment methods (think debit and credit cards) from multiple banks, loyalty points cards and gift cards with the ability to redeem and electronically receive gift cards as well.

The wallet system premiered last November and is currently available across all mobile platforms and all five major Canadian wireless carriers.

And while more mobile payment systems are hitting the Canadian market (for example, Rogers launched its Suretap system in September 2015), a recent Accenture study shows that only about one in 10 Canadian consumers use one of these systems regularly.

According to the 2015 North American Consumer Digital Payments Survey, 40 per cent of Canadians are aware their smartphones can double as a wallet. Compare that to 53 per cent of their American counterparts who are conscious of mobile payment systems. Only 10 per cent of those Canadians use one of these systems as least once a week, compared to 19 per cent of consumers south of the border.

“Canadian consumers are becoming increasingly aware that they can make payments through their phones, but haven’t yet put away their cash and cards,” said Jonathan Magder, Canadian payments lead at Accenture, in a statement. “Canadians already tap and pay for purchases today with the very same terminals that can also be used for mobile payments with our phones. This is a clear indicator to banks and retailers that although the digital transformation in payments is progressing, there is still a long way to go before we reach broad market adoption.”

The research also showed that Apple Pay still has a strong grip on the U.S. market share when it comes to mobile payments, and is getting some solid buzz north of the border as well. While Apple Pay is the mobile wallet of preference for 68 per cent of transactions in the U.S., in Canada, 11 per cent of respondents said they would use Apple Pay at least weekly once it’s available.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Lindsey Peacock
Lindsey Peacock
Lindsey Peacock is a freelance writer, editor and American expat based in Toronto. This proud Atlanta native has written for a variety of news and business publications across North America, including Business in Vancouver, BCBusiness magazine, Fort McMurray Today and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Blogging, sweet tea and black-and-white movies are a few of her favourite things.

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