Mobile payment seems to be the flavor of the season in Canada. In April, the federal government abolished the penny, thereby laying the ground for the much-anticipated mobile payment revolution. Last week, MasterCard published the MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index (MPRI) which indicates that Canada is one of the most ‘prepared’ markets for adoption of mobile payments.
Canadian banks and Credit Unions on Monday presented a blueprint that will enable consumers to pay for goods with a tap of their smartphones. On the same note, Rogers yesterday announced an agreement with CIBC to launch Canada’s first mobile payment solution, allowing Canadians to pay with their CIBC credit card at the checkout counter using their Rogers “Near Field Communications” (NFC)-enabled smartphones.
Rogers has been actively pursuing mobile payments since last year. The mobile wallet uses NFC and a CIBC application loaded onto your phone will use existing “tap and go” hardware already installed at various merchants across the country. This service will store your credit card information on your smartphone and will be accessible using the CIBC app.
Mobile wallet will initially be available only to Rogers BlackBerry customers who own a CIBC MasterCard and Visa credit-card customers. Rogers says it’s working aggressively to enable mobile wallet on other smartphones and devices. The service is free, at least for now, for both merchants and customers.
“Canadians are embracing new technologies at an accelerated pace and we know they’re interested in using their smartphone for mobile payments,” said Rob Bruce, President of Communications, Rogers Communications. “We’ve been laying the foundation for mobile commerce and the ecosystem is ready to give Canadians the convenience, security, and peace of mind they deserve,” said Bruce. “Today’s announcement with CIBC represents an important first step toward a whole new world of mobile transactions which is a key growth area for the company.”
Rogers claims there are no security concerns as its mobile wallet complies with the mobile payment guidelines issued by the Canadian Bankers Association – an umbrella body that represents banks operating across Canada.
As I’ve mentioned in my earlier posts, Rogers holds several “firsts” in the Canadian wireless arena. It was the first carrier in North America to roll out an HSPA+ network with speeds up to 21 Mbps. Subsequently, it became the ‘first Canadian Carrier‘ to launch LTE. The company scored another first last year when it launched a ‘Smart Home Monitoring Service‘ – a security system that allows homeowners to control appliances remotely using a smartphone. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Rogers has now emerged as the first wireless carrier to introduce a mobile wallet in Canada.
As for CIBC, it was the first Canadian bank to offer mobile banking back in 2010. CIBC says it plans to offer mobile wallet for debit cards later this year. Both companies claim it’s a win-win situation for everybody. It opens up an alternate revenue stream for Rogers. CIBC hopes this new offering will give it a competitive edge over rival banks. As for customers, they don’t need to carry their credit cards with them all the time.
To see the Rogers Mobile Wallet in action, see this video.