Virtual Gift Cards via Smartphones Launched in Canada by Blackhawk Network

On May 1st 2014, Blackhawk Network, a leading prepaid payment network and a subsidiary of Safeway, which supports the distribution of gift cards, prepaid telecom products and financial services products across the global network, announced the launch of its digital platform in the Canadian Market.

The company is now offering Blackhawk’s gift card products to rogers' customers in the new suretap wallet, that works on NFC technology to enable users to make payments with their phone.

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  • Blackhawk Canada's gift card solutions benefit merchants by offering greater opportunity for incremental sales, the increased intelligence facilitated by easier customer data capture as well as a broader customer acquisition channel.
  • Over 51% of NFC-enabled smartphone users in canada have used the smartphone to make a payment in 2012 according to a survey conducted by Harris Decima for rogers.
  • Atleast 46% of them claimed that they would be more inclined to make mobile payments if they were integrated with loyalty programs.
  • Major Canadian retailers with e-gift cards available for purchase within the suretap wallet such as Swiss Chalet, Indigo,Montana's Cookhouse, Harvey's, Kelsey's, milestones Grill+Bar, Earls Restaurants, Spafinder Wellness 365, Ardene, with more to be available in the following months.

'Blackhawk Canada's research has shown that Canadians are eager for access to egift options, yet few retailers are making them available, stated Managing Director of Blackhawk Canada, in a press release. This is a significant opportunity to connect a new customer base with the digital gift card solutions it wants, which can readily be used for purchases from favorite brands and retailers.'

Founded in 1960 by Ted Rogers, rogers communications inc., is a media and communications company based in Ontario, Canada. The company previously partnered with CIBC on its mobile payment app. This brought the ability for consumers to use their smartphone to complete transactions up to $50. The limit was later increased to $100.

Some of the other companies working in the mobile payments space in Canada include Ingenico ,CIBC, Donriver Inc., Enstream and Everlink Payment Services. Ingenico holds 65% of the market share of payment solutions in Canada according to the president of its North American branch, Thierry Denis. Ingenico has around 800,000 POS devices in Canada with 30% able to handle mobile payments according to the company. Their terminals are already equipped with NFC technology. Recently, Ingenico entered into a partnership with Pivotal Payments.