AMEX: Apple Pay “Exceeded” Expectations in Canada, Deal Not Exclusive

In an interview with The Financial Post, American Express has commented on how Apple Pay has gone for the company’s first month in Canada.

Suat Alaybeyoglu, vice-president of consumer acquisition and management, told reporter Christina Pellegrini Apple Pay “is not, by any means, exclusive to American Express,” while clarifying “We’re just the first issuer to launch it. I have no idea why the other banks didn’t launch it and I don’t know what the other plans are. The reason I am being cautious is maybe they (other issuers) enabled it this morning.”

The credit card company was mum on early Apple Pay usage, only to say “provisions have exceeded our expectations,” (no expectations were revealed) while commenting usage was “seeing the most traction at coffee shops and quick-service restaurants.” No numbers were provided on how many cards work with Apple Pay aside from “majority” of their offerings, nor how many terminals or retailers can accept the card in Canada.

Recent Nilson Report data, which American Express referred to, noted the company had 8.2 per cent marketshare in Canada with its 4.6 million cards.

While many are holding out for Canada’s big banks to support Apple Pay, reasons are unclear why card support is absent, despite previous rumours of transaction fees holding up negotiations.

Analysts at CIBC World Markets said “the impact on earnings would be immaterial for the sector in the near to medium term,” even if Apple took 30 per cent of all credit card transactions in Canada at a mere 10 basis points per sale, well below the rumoured 15 to 25 points reported by the WSJ back in the spring. Apple reportedly receives $0.15 for every $100 spent via Apple Pay in the U.S.

Interac—the non-profit co-op founded by RBC, CIBC, Scotiabank, TD, and Desjardins—which runs Canada’s debit card system, told The Financial Post it has seen a surge of contactless payments increase by 163 per cent this year, compared to 2014. The company said “Our goal is to have Interac Flash available on every wallet,” and that it would be “ready when our stakeholders are ready.”

Apple Pay launched back on November 17 with American Express cards only (as we told you it would). TD Canada Trust is pegged as the next likely candidate to support the mobile wallet after its website inadvertently leaked support for Apple Pay in October, which the bank called incorrect info posted “temporarily on our website.”

There may be some developments though, as TD Canada Trust’s Apple Pay webpage URL (Update: corrected URL) has recently resulted in a proper “We’re Sorry” landing page (as of 11 days ago), as opposed to a straight up error, hinting support could be coming soon:

Screenshot 2015 12 14 23 39 33

Also, we previously reported adding a TD VISA to Apple Pay now provides a different “error” message, with some other cards showing the same.

A user on Reddit last month claimed Apple Pay was being pilot tested by an unnamed Canadian bank employees. Some banking customers have gone so far as to file a complaint with the Competition Bureau for the lack of Apple Pay support in Canada.

You can check out a list of retailers that accept Amex and Apple Pay here, or by using one of these free iOS apps.

How has your Apple Pay experience been so far? Any bets on the first Canadian bank to launch Apple Pay support?

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

  • Gary Bowen

    Good news if more banks will come on board.

    Not that this is by any means scientific, but I’ve been able to use Apple Pay for 50% of my transactions so far. I’d say it would be 75% if places that accepted Amex had Tap-To-Pay turned on their machine. The other 25% don’t accept Amex. Excuse the ballpark percentages for about the last 30 purchases I’ve made.

  • xusil

    I’ve used it a few times, mainly at Tim Hortons and Shoppers. In Ottawa, Landsdowne Park accepts it for their parking. I’ve found a few stores that accept American Express and have contactless payments, but the transaction fails. Likely because tap isn’t enabled for AMEX? Regardless, I’ve taken the initiative to email some places I frequently shop at that it doesn’t work at to provide the feedback. One place was Booster Juice, who doesn’t have tap enabled. I actually got an email from the Director of IT indicating the feature will be enabled in 2016 – which is pretty cool.

    Process of using it is so simple and I’ve been able to wow cashiers every time, especially when using it on my watch.

  • Mark Holoubek

    Cool. I live a five-minute walk from Lansdowne and have a 6S. Maybe the fact that Lansdowne is all about TD Canada Trust is a good sign (for me anyways 🙂

  • Gary Bowen

    Yes, I understand in some stores Tap may be enabled for MasterCard/Visa, but not Amex.

  • mxmgodin

    There’s a mistake in the TD URL you shared (the one that leads to the “We’re Sorry” page. There’s an extraneous quotation mark (“) at the end. That URL leads to an actual page about online banking (about their web, and TD app offerings).

  • xeronine992


    The proper url (applepay.jsp) has a 302 permanently moved redirect. It doesn’t take you to a page not found error as Gary indicated.

  • Great news from Booster Juice

  • Thanks updated!

  • mxmgodin

    The URL still have an extra ” at the end when I click on it… 😛

  • Updated, for real this time 🙂

  • Dave B

    I ordered an Amex specifically to use with ApplePay. Adding it to my wallet was easy, but I still haven’t successfully used it. At LCBO it looked like it had gone through, but the cashier insisted it hadn’t and I had to eventually pull out my card (after arguing for a few minutes). Elsewhere (where I know they take Amex, even contactless) I end up scrambling to get my old fashioned wallet out and use the damn card. Very disappointed … Seems like a long way off before I can leave my old wallet at home.

  • johnnygoodface

    In QC I’ve been able to use my AMEX via Apple Pay (all with my Apple Watch) at Tim Hortons, Canadian Tires, Mc Donald’s, Staples, and Jean-Coutu

  • Guest

    Seems not all franchises accept it. Today, I went to a McDonalds in Burlington that didn’t accept AMEX while one in Missisauga did accept AMEX and even had a poster at the pull-up window saying they now accept Apple Pay. However, when I wanted to pay using Apple Pay, the girl at the window said she doesn’t know how to accept it and neither did her colleague. So, I asked her if she accepts AMEX which she said she did and handed me the terminal. I used my iPhone and done. They were amazed at how easy it was. Wish more places accepted Apple Pay and at least take a few minutes to train their employees on how to accept it.

  • Z S

    I’ve read from some people on Twitter that ApplePay works at some Sobeys, but it hasn’t worked for me. Sobeys here accepts tap for Visa and Mastercard… but despite taking AMEX cards, doesn’t support tap for them. Also, for some bizarre reason, Sobeys still doesn’t support Interac Flash.

    Companies need to start support all the options that are available, especially if their POS systems already are already technically capable.