Suretap Wallet to Shut Down in August, Lays Partial Blame on Apple

There were high ambitions for the suretap mobile wallet, which was the basis for NFC mobile payments for Rogers customers on specific Android and BlackBerry smartphones. The mobile wallet was a partnership between fellow carriers Bell and TELUS and was consolidated into Enstream, another mobile wallet spin off created by the Big 3.

However, a recent announcement on the suretap website has stated the platform will end, as of August 26, 2016.

Suretap dead

Suretap explains it is folding “due to ongoing changes in the market, and an increasing number of mobile payment and banking options available from CIBC, Desjardins, Scotiabank, as well as other wallets such as UGO.”

In an interview with itbusiness.ca, Almis Ledas, chief operating officer at Enstream, put partial blame on Apple for the failure of suretap to reach widespread adoption.

Apple’s iPhone 6 models or newer have NFC, but the chip is unavailable to third parties, which meant suretap lost out on nearly one-third of the Canadian smartphone market.

Ledas explained they asked Apple for access to the Secure Element—encrypted hardware in the iPhone isolated from third parties and the Internet to store Apple Pay credentials—but to nobody’s surprise, Apple denied them access:

“If we’d been able to deploy a wallet on Apple and non-Apple handsets, we would have more access for issuers and it would still be in existence today,” Ledas says. “We went to Apple and talked about getting access to the secure element. The answers was clear – no.”

Here is Apple’s explanation of the Secure Element:

The Secure Element is an industry-standard, certified chip designed to store your payment information safely. The Device Account Number in the Secure Element is unique to your device and to each credit or debit card added. It’s isolated from iOS and watchOS, never stored on Apple Pay servers, and never backed up to iCloud.

Apple Pay launched last fall for Canadian AMEX cardholders, and by June of this year, all Big 5 banks had supported the mobile wallet, leaving no room for suretap.

Ledas added “As the device universe split, the base we could serve became smaller and smaller.” He also noted the decision to shelve suretap was made before Canadian banks launched support for Apple Pay in May.

CIBC and Rogers Bank (their credit card issuer) were the only two organizations that supported suretap, in a mobile wallet system that was too complex and cumbersome to use and implement, as it required a specific NFC-based SIM card, a supported credit card, specific app downloads for setup and use, and was limited to a handful of of Android and BlackBerry smartphones.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • sully54

    I sleep better a night knowing that Apple didnt open up the Secure Element to services like suretap. Good riddance.

  • Many99

    I think we all should shed a tear for suretap, that it didn’t get shutdown sooner

  • Bender Rodríguez

    Yay! That crap won’t come pre installed on my phones anymore.

  • Mamba

    Read the story. Apple couldn’t share anything even if they wanted to. It’s designed that way.

  • sully54

    “We went to apple and talked about getting access to the secure element. The answer was clear – no.”

    I did read the article. your response is beyond the scope of my comment.

  • Diop

    Not a surprise, I own a blackberry Z30 with a NFC chip ( lol). I couldn’t even register my card.This is the worst app and it was gone
    Lucky for me after moving to ScotiaBank with mobile wallet and a nfc simcard from Koodo, I can make payment using it.The phone and blackberry 10 are EOL but as long as it’s working I’m fine. If you’re a social media guy forget it about they’re gone and you’ll hate it.
    I still have my iphone 4S as a backup but without a removable storage (I hate the cloud). I’m not buying another Phone.

  • How’s that Z30 treating you! 🙂

  • Diop

    Honestly it’s a great phone. I have it for 3 years pretty solid and a good battery life and coming from Iphone 4S. I could sideload android apps but they ask to much access and you cannot restrict their app from running in background which is not worth it.
    I bought a second one on amazon unlocked as a backup but before that I was leaning strongly to get an Iphone SE or Iphone 6S. The Z30 and blackberry 10 are too good for me to give up as well as being able to use a Microsd card. There’s one underrated app blackberry travel is you’re a frequent traveller, it’ll scan my email and import all the details and update it gradually with the gate departure and you can add car reservation or hotel. Cineplex app I always buy my ticket on it, Timhortons I use to be able to pay with my phone with a tap and clerk was confused :), gasbuddy good without the banner ads on IOS.
    Social media like I say it’s great,

  • Mamba

    Pardon my rudeness.

    “The Device Account Number in the Secure Element is unique to your device and to each credit or debit card added. It’s isolated from iOS and watchOS, never stored on Apple Pay servers, and never backed up to iCloud”

    I thought that meant Apple themselves couldn’t get that info?

  • Yearoftherat

    I could never get suretap to work properly too when I had my Samsung S4. Even the Rogers CSR couldn’t figure out what the issue was. Poorly executed app and glad its finally going away.