Canadians Ready for Mobile Wallet, but Technology Not


Canadians are ready for a wallet-free life, said PayPal last year, a statement corroborated by David Robinson, senior vice-president of financial services for Rogers. But there is one problem: we won’t leave our wallets at home in the near future, because there are still multiple hurdles the industry needs to overcome to create THE digital wallet product everybody would adopt (via

In2pay iphone nfc

In Canada, consumers seem to be ready: Canadians are avid online-banking users, and more than two-thirds use financial apps on their mobile devices. According to Rogers, 2.5 million Canadians use mobile apps on a daily basis for banking, and 17% have made a mobile payment in the past 12 months.

But the main issues lacking before deployment of the digital wallet every Canadian would adopt are the following: technology, merchant adoption, and a reason for consumers to stop using their physical wallet instead.

“Of any market around the world, Canada is uniquely positioned to be successful in this space,” says Michael Bradley, NorthCard Inc at an event organized by the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC). But “the buck stops at consumer adoption. It’s too early to say what consumer adoption is going to look like because of all the friction points.”

As you already know, RBC and Rogers have already stepped into the mobile payment market. But the technology of choice, NFC, limits the adoption of the mobile wallet. Rumour has it that Apple is about to adopt this technology as well, but as you may already have noticed, this whisper appears each time we are near to an iPhone launch.

Some may think that NFC is the ONLY solution. Nope, it isn’t, and Rogers is aware that new technologies will emerge and the carrier will need to adopt them. Apple seems to be ready to step into the mobile payments market with Touch ID, but will the company launch its own alternative technology for mobile payments?


  • Supacon

    I’m not sure why people talk about TouchID as if it’s some kind of end-to-end payment solution. All it really does is act as an alternative way to authenticate. It’s just an easy way of entering a password. That’s it.

    It’d be like saying that now that the iPhone supports entering passwords on a keyboard we can use that as a way to do debit transactions because you can enter your PIN on it.
    There’s a massive, massive infrastructure that needs to be put in place before we’ll ever realistically be able to leave our wallets, cash, and cards at home. Just look at how slowly contactless payments are being adopted in Canada right now. Or how long it took for chip-and-PIN to become widely used (and some places *still* don’t support it). Or before that, how long it took for Interac debit payments to become ubiquitous when it was introduced in the mid-to-late nineties.

    I’m sure we’ll have something where we can use mobile technology for payments, but I suspect it’ll be 5-10 years away from being universal.

    The upside is that we have adopted all of these technologies much faster than the US (but still more slowly than Europe).