Canada has been emerging as a cashless society. The country has shown a high level of progress as highlighted by its nearly comprehensive financial inclusion (96% of Canadians aged 15 and over have a bank account) and a long-standing government focus on optimizing national payments systems. Much of the nation’s success in cashless initiatives can be attributed to early adoption of debit card POS usage, and the rapid uptake of MasterCard PayPass which has opened up the category for other networks’ NFC-enabled low-value payment solutions. In Canada, 78.1% merchants have adopted POS systems and there are about 2.13 POSs per merchant store in the country. The market sizes of mobile POS and contactless POS are growing at rates of 9.2% and 16.4% respectively.
Recently, MTS and SaskTel introduced mobile payments services in the nation. Customers of these provincial telecommunications companies can now pay with their phone. TD Bank is the first financial institution to offer this service to MTS and SaskTel customers. Five mobile networks now provide Canadians with the ability to pay for purchases with a tap of their mobile device.
SaskTel and MTS are enabling mobile payments through EnStream. EnStream’s platform acts as a hub connecting multiple Canadian banks and mobile network operators. EnStream’s platform securely delivers the credit, debit and prepaid cards offered by financial institutions to wireless handsets while preserving each bank’s direct relationship with their customers through their own banking and payment applications.
Mobile payments are now supported by Bell, Rogers, TELUS, MTS and SaskTel, who collectively provide services to over 94% of Canada’s wireless subscribers. With appropriately provisioned smartphones, their customers now have the ability to “pay with their phone.”Similarly, five of Canada’s six largest financial institutions, CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank and TD Bank–who together serve 85% of Canada’s households with retail banking services–are providing mobile payments through their own applications.
This mobile payment capability helps to transform smartphones into virtual, mobile wallets, that can eliminate the need to carry individual cards, passes or cash.