By Rob Cameron, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Moneris
Update: On June 1, 2016, Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank and TD Bank made Apple Pay available for customers using Visa, Mastercard or Interac Debit.
Update: On May 10, 2016, Apple expanded the options available for Canadian users of its mobile wallet. Apple Pay is now available to Interac Debit, Visa and MasterCard users (Apple Pay for American Express cardholders arrived in Canada in November 2015). The Royal Bank of Canada and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce have signed on and it's expected that Canada's other three big banks will follow in the coming months. This expansion makes it easy for businesses to accept contactless payments.
Tap-and-pay transactions make up 25% of the transactions Moneris processes today. "We are ready to educate, enable and support merchants to accept Apple Pay," said Rob Cameron, Chief Product and Marketing Officer.
Apple Pay could be a bigger success in Canada than it was in the United States.
How do I know? You have to look at how Apple launched its mobile payments and digital wallet in the U.S.
Apple did a lot right when it launched Apple Pay, which lets people pay for purchases using compatible iPhones, iPads or Apple Watches. They got commitments from major U.S. banks — Citi, Bank of America — and retailers like McDonald’s and Walgreens. They created fingerprint technology to authenticate payments and address security concerns. But due to an outdated technology issue in the U.S., Apple Pay isn't as widely available as other payment methods.
For Apple Pay to work, a merchant needs a payment terminal with EMV (also known as Chip & Pin), a security standard necessary for contactless payments. EMV protects consumer data and helps reduce business liability for fraudulent transactions. Apple Pay uses the same authentication as any chip card that can use tap-to-pay technology. That makes it a very easy-to-adopt payment method. But in the U.S., the percentage of retailers with the ability to accept contactless payments was less than 2 per cent. Until more U.S. merchants upgrade to EMV contactless, consumers will have fewer places to use Apple Pay.
Canada has had EMV since 2010. Twenty per cent of all the transactions in Canada are contactless and the number is growing. About 85 per cent of Moneris terminals in Canada can accept contactless payments using credit or debit cards, mobile wallets and, eventually, Apple Pay. That’s what makes Canada fertile ground for Apple Pay.
Our consumers are already familiar with EMV (Chip & Pin). Let me share something I’ve learned during my 19 years in financial services:
Consumers need to know more than what a new technology does. They need to know how it will make their life better.
Contactless payments are more convenient than cash. It saves time at the checkout aisle and it’s safe. That benefits merchants and consumers. What mobile wallets like Apple Pay introduce is a simple, seamless way to pay. Now, what else is it about Canada that makes me believe that Apple Pay could be a success here?
Canadians love their iPhones. More than nine million Canadians already use an iOS wireless device and I’m one of them. I can’t wait to upgrade to the iPhone 6S and I have an Apple Watch, which makes using Apple Pay easier. To recap, we have contactless technology available at major retailers. Contactless payments are growing in popularity and we have plenty of iPhone users. What could go wrong?
One or more of Canada’s six major banks could not sign on with Apple Pay. Canadians also love debit and Interac will need to be part of Apple Pay in Canada for it to be a success. The absence of Interac or any bank could deter widespread adoption. Considering what Apple achieved in the U.S., I’m optimistic. Canada is a sophisticated market. But if Apple does things right, Apple Pay could flourish in Canada.
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