UGO is a partnership between TD Bank and PC Financial.

But its a new legal entity. It even has its own fun branding: anthropomorphic mobile apps. Its mission is to replace your physical wallet with a single app.

UGO just hit the Android and BlackBerry app stores. Any Canadian can use it, so long as you meet a few conditions:

  • You have Rogers, Telus or Bell as your carrier.
  • You have an Android or BlackBerry device with NFC
  • You have a credit card with TD Bank or PC Financial or you’re a member of the PC Plus loyalty program

Once you download UGO, it’s time to add a card. The app says you can tap your PIN & Chip credit card to do this. Once you try that and find out it doesn’t work, you can just type in the information.

The app detected the PC Points account I have linked to my credit card account. I was able to add it to the wallet instantly. Now I’m all set up and ready to pay.

After finishing the set-up, we set off on an undercover mission to see if I could really pay without pulling out my wallet.

First I picked up a coffee at Second Cup. I told them I would pay with my phone. It was as simple as tapping the credit card reader to get my caffeine fix. So far, so good.

Next I went to Loblaws to test another feature on the wallet. Here, you can use your PC Points to make a purchase. This time I picked up a Starbucks gift card. At the self-checkout, I selected my PC Points option and held my phone to the terminal. It worked!

Looks like UGO is good to go.

Overall UGO has made an easy to use mobile wallet experience. But it’s still early days. The success of the app will depend on supporting more credit cards and loyalty programs.

Since UGO has both an open platform and an open approach, it’s likely to offer more payment options in the months ahead.

For, I’m Brian Jackson. Thanks for watching All Hands on Tech.

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  • Dave Yin

    It’s a real shame the service requires the Big 3 as your carrier. There is absolutely zero benefit to the consumer to have carriers involved and manipulating innovation in technology. You’d never catch Google or Apple limiting their mobile payment services this way.

    • Dave, I asked about this and was told there are two factors at work with carriers. First of all since the digital wallet information is stored on the SIM card, the carrier must be involved in provisioning that and support NFC-enabled SIM chips on their devices. The second consideration is the number of customers using the carrier. By going with the big 3, Ugo is hitting 90% of the population. There’s nothing to prevent them from adding Wind in the future.

      • Dave Yin

        I see why going through the SIM card would involve carriers but was there really a need to go through the SIM card in the first place? What’s the benefit of that when NFC also has security measures in place and manages to cut out more competing interests?