Canadian Launch Date of Apple Pay Still Unknown

by Istvan Fekete on January 26, 2015

Apple announced its foray into the mobile payments market last fall with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and launched it on October 20 for the US only. Since then, Canadians who own the latest Apple device have demonstrated that they are able to use Apple Pay in Canada – if they have a US credit card – but the question remains open: When will Apple Pay launch in the country? Linda Mantia, Executive Vice-President of Digital Payments and Cards at RBC, looked into her crystal ball for 2015 and shared her vision with MPD CEO Karen Webster (via iPhoneinCanada).

The picture wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t add that there have recently been voices indicating an early 2015 Canadian Apple Pay launch. We can’t verify 9to5Mac’s sources, but we can say that both TD Bank’s CIO and now RBC’s Linda Mantia have suggested that the launch of Apple Pay is further away than first imagined, despite Canada being more prepared for mobile payments, and here is why.

Apple launched its Pay system in the US to help accelerate the reformation of a payments system that lags behind the rest of the world: 9 million US businesses accept magnetic stripe cards, but that will be history by the end of this year, and, by the way, it’s the most insecure payment method.

When it comes to mobile payment readiness, Canada is one step ahead of the US: RBC migrated to Chip and PIN more than a decade ago, and merchants have upgraded their terminals to support both contactless and Chip and PIN.

Apple’s market share does help, but there are other issues that need to be ironed out as well: Nearly 40 percent of Canadians use Apple phones and until now we haven’t been able to talk to them about mobile payment. While the launch of Apple Pay is unknown in Canada, it is of major interest to the industry and a good thing for consumers; it provides an easy way to pay with a client’s credit or debit card. The biggest call to action is that all of us issuing banks have, together with Apple and Android, is to try and improve the consistency of the client experience at the point of sale – ubiquity, consistency and predictability matters.

In the end, both RBC and TD Bank seem to agree that the next trend is to lose those plastic cards and start using the smartphone as the unit storing loyalty cards, gift cards and, finally, credit cards. This will lead to the rapid adoption of mobile payments, and Apple Pay will have its market share here.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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