Apple Pay Coming to Canada This Year with AMEX Support [u]

During Apple’s 2015 Q4 earnings call, CEO Tim Cook confirmed Apple Pay is coming to Canada this year, available to “eligible customers” here, along with Australia too. The company is partnering with American Express. Boom.

Other markets geared to support Apple Pay include via eligible American Express customers include Australia, with Singapore, Spain and Hong Kong geared for 2016.

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Partnering with American Express means Apple Pay can launch without involvement from Canadian banks (as most support Visa and MasterCard, except Scotiabank has a Gold American Express Card), which are rumoured to be holding out from adopting the mobile payment solution over credit card transaction fees.

While many merchants already have NFC terminals ready for Apple Pay, the only issue we foresee is not all merchants accept American Express, due to their higher transactions fees compared to Visa and MasterCard. The launch of Apple Pay here with American Express surely will push Canadian banks to fast track adoption of the mobile payment solution.

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported Apple Pay was set to launch in Canada as early as this November, so it appears their sources were spot on. Our own sources claimed a late October or early November debut of Apple Pay in Canada.

Recently, TD Canada Trust accidentally leaked Apple Pay support was coming, while we’ve also heard support from BMO as well, while some of your local RBC branches are noting support as well. The TD Canada Trust ‘leak’ was the most concrete evidence Apple Pay will be supported by a ‘Big 6’ Canadian bank.

…more to follow, refresh for updates

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

  • mxmgodin

    Amex? Seriously? Who the heck uses Amex in Canada!?

  • pulp45

    What does this “partnering with A. Express” mean? Can’t hook up our MasterCards with it, who the hell uses American Express?

  • mxmgodin

    From the transcript of the conference on MacRumors: “Will be available to eligible Amex customer in Canada and Australia this year, and Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong in 2016.”

    Little light at the end of the tunnel: the TD leak from the other week was mentioning Visa. So if this is valid, I guess Amex will be launch partners, with more cards to follow. At least, I hope so.

  • zenimpulse

    This is totally ridiculous. Nobody in Canada even uses Amex. Apple made a huge mistake here.

  • Rio

    I have AMEX as my main card, so I am happy 😀

    Sneaky on Apple’s part though. This will 100% put pressure on the banks to hurry up though. I was upset that I could not tap at the Gas Station when I got my Amex but should be able to now!

  • Gary Bowen

    I didn’t even know what Amex was until now. Hoping TD, CIBC, RBC etc. announce Apple Pay for Mastercard and Visa alongside this Amex announcement.

  • Michael

    Wrong. The Canadian banks made a huge mistake here.

  • Daniel

    I was excited when I saw the title but when I clicked I was disappointed because no one uses Amex in Australia and not many people support it here to.

  • zenimpulse

    Except we’ve seen the banks have been prepping for an Apple Pay launch. So how does this square with that?

  • Rio

    I think this is more on the banks.

  • scouse

    Amex is boss… best card for consumers with tons of perks.
    I’m assuming the Scotiabank Amex card won’t be on that list though…

  • Rio

    But it hasnt been announced yet? lol

  • Totally. Using an AMEX here as well, but just need to find merchants that take the card and have NFC terminals activated. Shoppers, Apple Store, Starbucks…etc

  • zenimpulse

    Not announced, but the point is, the big banks mostly support Visa (to the point of having Visa Debit cards). TD in particular is largely a Visa bank, and they had an entire page for Apple Pay lined up. Seems a little strange then that Apple Pay for Canada is now apparently for Amex only.

  • Nick Cameron Greene

    Until there’s a more formal announcement, you can probably chill out. It could very be a “we’re launching with Amex as well as most major credit cards.” Cool your jets man!

  • Thierry Marques

    Right, I know more than a few people who use AmEx, including myself as my main card for over 7 years… I really only use my TD Visa when the Amex doesn’t work, which is less than 10% of the times.

    Still hoping for TD to follow shortly after, so I’m fully covered!

  • michael

    It’s possible that Tim Cook didn’t mention Visa and MasterCard because those deals aren’t finalized.

  • Nick Cameron Greene

    Having read the macrumors transcript, it sounds like what they were getting at was that they’re proud to have partnered up with Amex. It doesn’t say anything about other cards and other banks because they are specifically talking about Amex around the world. No need to freak out everyone, I’m sure we’re going to get a formal announcement soon!

  • Just wait for Apple to release Apple Pay numbers in Canada and American Express, solely to wag in front of the ‘Big 6’. It’s a start and will definitely put pressure on banks, but also give Amex a tonne of new sign ups.

  • Rio

    Yeah, that is true.

    Will probably be usable at Gas Stations too. Food Basics, McDonalds, TIme Hortons.

  • Wow…. Kinda sad to see that… Almost make me feel that real Apple Pay is not close to arrive to Canada then…

  • Nick Cameron Greene

    “Will be available to eligible Amex customer in Canada and Australia this year, and Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong in 2016.”

    “We’re partnering with American Express to bring Apple Pay to customers in key global markets.”

    That doesn’t really confirm anything other than “Hooray Amex”. and to say “Nobody in Canada even uses Amex.” is a little ignorant don’t you think.

  • zenimpulse

    I was being facetious. Obviously there is some Amex use in Canada, but importantly, nowhere near the amount that would make Apple Pay remotely viable, between number of users, and number of retailers that support it.

  • sarge

    Main card AmEx here too, although through Scotiabank, hopefully it’s supported!

  • Crosseyedmofo

    it wont be until they hammer out a deal with the banks

    my guess would be platinum, gold and simply cash would be the first to be supported

  • Potzie2

    I hope you both aren’t serious?!? Many use AMEX as their primary credit card. Its cards are consistently rated amongst the best for rewards. In our house it is SPG AMEX first, and Chase Marriott Visa second.

    This is great news for me. I will finally be able to make a Canadian card my Apple Pay default and move my RBC Bank Visa down the list for when I am in the US. Might remove it totally as my Chase Marriott Visa has no foreign currency surcharges on it.

  • I actually listened to the call myself, and was waiting to hear if there was much to be said about Canada. Cook was running through a bunch of new partnerships and other stuff, and it really could conceivably be that Amex was highlighted merely because it’s a new partnership, so he was giving them a shout-out. There may be nothing formal ready for Canada yet, and it also wouldn’t be unheard of for Apple to still be at the negotiating table working on the final details. You may recall that some Apple Music negotiations went right into the eleventh hour before Apple finally announced the service.

    Amex could have signed on an hour before the call started, while the rest are still in negotiations. In other words, this could simply be a matter of “Amex has signed. Now what about the rest of you?”

  • MIke Nitsopoulos

    Finding a retailer that supports contactless payments with Amex is difficult. Many retailers support Amex, but not via contactless. This will likely make the potential use of Apple Pay very limited. I’ve been using Amex (mostly exclusively) for two years now and I can count on one hand the number of retailers that I’ve found to support contactless Amex payments.

  • Exactly. The Amex announcement was a global one, and not even all that country-specific. Canada was mostly mentioned as an aside.

  • It’s Me

    Since Apple Pay has worked with Amex for a while, it wouldn’t be worth highlighting above any other partner unless there was something notable. Using the partnership to bring Apple Pay global clearly seems to be the notable something. That doesn’t mean other banks and card won’t come too but obviously going with Amex expedites their global rollout including Canada, which is only notable if gets it here faster.

    Hopefully this lights a fire under the Canadian banks to sign, but with their cartel they hold all the cards (pun intended). This could easily stimulate them to take steps to cow Apple, like signing Google wallet.

  • Rio

    If I am correct:

    Apple Pay is independent of your card. So Apple Pay will work on all contactless terminals that accept MasterCard even if they don’t work with AMEX.

    So you can now technically use your Amex through Apple Pay contactless even more.

  • Rio

    Yeah, only all AMEX cards will work as of now

  • Crosseyedmofo

    true, but at least they cant pass the buck to it being apples fault that their cards wont work anymore

  • MGSayah

    I dont think this entirely true…”American Express Card Members enrolled in Apple Pay can use their Apple device at merchants who support contactless payments, and within participating merchant apps that accept Apple Pay and American Express Cards.”

  • It’s Me

    Yup. Everyone that they all lied to on social media with “Apple Pay isn’t available in Canada. We’ll consider it when Apple bring it here. Until then ask Apple” should write them back and say “ok, now it’s in Canada. What’s your excuse now?”

  • It’s Me

    Then how does that mean Apple made a mistake? All of the other cards require the banks and the banks refuse to deal and formed a cartel to ensure none of them do a side deal on their own. If Apple wanted to bring it to Canada on their terms they had no other choice it seems.

    If there is a mistake here, blame the banks.

  • winnertakesteve

    well this is garbage. Releasing with the least supported contactless payment option is a sure way to guarantee poor adoption rates, and create zero incentive to the banks to get on board. This might as well read “Apple Pay never coming to Canada lol!”

    I’d be better off creating an American bank account at this point ????

  • Rio

    I think your quote supports by hypothesis even more ! 🙂

    It states 2 things :

    – Apple Pay can be used at merchants who “support contactless payments”

    NOTE: that there is no specification on equipment.

    And

    The 2nd point is more for in apps
    – ‘within participating apps that accept’ both.

    So if in app, they don’t process AMEX they won’t take it. But this point is separate from the contactless part

  • Jeremy Spencer

    iOS 9.2????
    ????????????????????

  • MIke Nitsopoulos

    The way I understand Apple Pay to work is that if your current credit card can be used as a contactless payment option at the retailer of your choice, then Apple Pay will also work with that same card. (Assuming Amex is your current credit card).

    Typically a retailer supports contactless for Visa and MC, but not for Amex. But this doesn’t mean you can’t use Amex at that retailer, you simply have to insert the card into the terminal.

    So find a retailer that supports Amex contactless and you should be good to go with Apple Pay.

  • MGSayah

    I just listened to the earnings call and what Apple announced was primarily their partnership with American Express which is a big deal and worthy of an earnings call, it features a clear financial purpose for shareholders.
    But Apple didn’t mention every single bank that will be supporting Apple Pay in Canada, Australia, Spain, Hong Kong and Singapore for obvious reasons…it would take too much time from the earnings call to specify every single bank.
    My guess is that Apple will be leaving this more precise information for when they officially announce Apple Pay on their Canadian and Australian websites and press releases.

  • Rio

    The reason AMEX is not supported via the contactless method is mostly because they do it differently than MC/Visa and were late to the table with their contactless version. So most readers are not able to handle it.

    But since Apple Pay uses a version similar to MC, it’ll be accepted everywhere. The difference being weather that merchant takes Amex or not.

  • Buddha

    To be honest, knowing Apple’s track record, they wouldn’t launch this week. They want all the ‘launch’ attention on Apple TV. No reason to risk distracting the consumer. With all the Apple Pay incidents of late (Whole Foods & McDonald’s getting badges in maps temporarily, the TD ‘leak’ and my own opinion, all the carrier updates of late… More so than a usual major iOS update) .. It’s coming. And it’ll be here soon. There’s probably some backend stuff getting ironed out by the banks.

    I’m not worried. The announcement wouldn’t be at the earnings call. Especially, again with Apple TV launching this week. MAYBE next week.

  • Crosseyedmofo

    makes sense

  • Buddha

    Every time somebody said an update will bring Apple Pay to Canada …… We end up waiting more… STOP IT!!! ???????????????? (just kidding) lol

  • MIke Nitsopoulos

    Really? That’s neat.
    Would that mean that Apple Pay uses the EMV protocol regardless of the type (Amex, Visa, or MC, Discover, etc) of card that participates in the transaction?

    In other words, if a retailer supports EMV contactless payments and also supports Amex non-contactless as a form of payment, you’ll be able to use Apple Pay with an Amex.

  • Rio

    Yup, I believe Tokenization is an evolvement of the EMV spec.

    Apple Pay uses Tokenization/EMV.

    This part is what Im most excited about, so I can Tap when paying for Gas. Which now only accepts Visa/MC.

  • Cornfed710

    I love my Amex even more today ???????????? Time to drop my airmiles Amex and get the Simply Cash Amex. Thank god McDonald’s takes Amex ???????? lol

  • Jeremy Spencer

    Just seemed a little quincidental that the beta came out the same day the made the ish announcement.

  • Salinger

    I’m hoping Capital One will also come on board. My two main cards are Amex and Cap 1. If I can use both of them on Apple Pay, I could care less how long the Canadian banks hold out.

  • Rio

    This will result in AMEX+Apple Pay advertising, in more people in Canada will be educated on the subject. And will thus result in more pressure on banks

  • Joe

    Exactly!! I tweeted CIBC with a screen cap of a McDonald listing I found using the Apple Map and the Apple Pay badge appears. I ask them how to add my account to it and the same robotic responses “Apple Pay isn’t available in Canada. We will evaluate it when it does.” Honestly they have no more excuses to say other wise unless they’re told not to say anything until it is officially announce which is what I believe it is happening.

  • Rio

    Sooo After doing some more research, it appears I might be wrong.

  • So no Debit version yet or would this ever come to Canada? Is just using your bank debit card to much of a security risk? We ditched AMEX because they are a hassle to deal with and kept screwing up our credit balances.

  • TD Canada Trust’s website leak noted debit as well.

  • Cornfed710

    Shoppers drug mart, McDonald’s, Macs convenience stores, any gas station and Sobeys are some I use regularly.

  • Crosseyedmofo

    im really curious about how a deal with interac went down

  • The information from the Wall Street Journal earlier this year indicated that the banks had formed a consortium to negotiate with Apple, particularly concerning security issues, for which they’d hired an external consulting firm. If I remember correctly, that report implied that Interac was also part of that from the beginning, which isn’t a stretch as while it’s theoretically independent of the banks, it’s also basically owned by them.

  • Tim

    I’m not signing up to AMEX to use Apple Pay. Why don’t they just partner with f*cking Diner’s Club at this rate?

  • Parksy

    Exactly. Canadian banks are the least of Apple’s worries. They came to an agreement with American Express which opens the door for them to be a preferred card worldwide. The Canadian banks will get there. Our banking system is one of the best in the world. They’ve historically allowed for the use of technology but they also want to make sure that whatever external system they’re allowing is secure and I can’t blame them for that. This also changes their fee structure and although the number of people who will likely use Apple Pay will be small, it does impact their approach.

  • MIke Nitsopoulos

    Do you have any links that speak to what you’ve found?

  • andrewe

    Diners Club is accepted everywhere MasterCard is, so that would be great.

  • andrewe

    AmEx, Chase, Capita One, HSBC… Canadian banks need not apply — but I hope they do!

  • Alex

    Yay ! Amex is my card for a while I love the way it payed me a trip to Berlin and now I love it even more with Apple Pay ! 🙂

  • Ironically, Capital One would be all I would need to compete the set, since there are some places I shop at that only take MasterCard but not VISA (Costco, No Frills), although I’m not sure there are any that have the opposite problem. Either way, though I’ve got VISA covered through my U.S. TD Bank account anyway 🙂

  • Rio

    contactless(dot)life/2015/08/03/american-express-disaster/

  • Luke

    As an AMEX card holder this is wonderful news! We received an email notification of the news at today but no further details.

    If there is a merchant that doesn’t take amex that you use all the time you can go to a website they set up and will contact the merchant.

    http://www.takeamex.ca

  • Peter

    When I tried to add my Amex card to Apple Pay. 😉

  • MGSayah

    I’m curious to know what happens when you click on the “agree” button. Does it go through and add it regardless of the terms and conditions?

  • Keep in mind that it wasn’t a formal announcement made by Tim Cook for end users, but rather speaking to investors about what’s coming for financial purposes. Further, Cook said “by the end of the year” so I’m not at all surprised that it’s not fully implemented yet 🙂

  • TheLostVancouverite

    Ditto on Capital One Mastercard (Costco); who needs big bank-issued credit cards?

  • Peter

    Card not supported. 😉

  • Peter

    Just wanted to try what will happen. Have never tried adding any Amex card to my apple wallet.

  • Haha, yeah, fair enough. I’ve tried a few cards here and there before as well out of the same sort of idle curiosity, and I’m sure if I had an Amex card, I would have done the same thing 🙂

  • Salinger

    Agreed, it’ll be much better to have everyone on board. But if Apple can do an end run around the Canadian banks and get Amex and the foreign banks onside, especially a big card issuer like Cap1, that can only help pressure the Canadian banks to sign up.

  • xeronine992

    It’s actually come up with that since iOS 8.2 or 8.3. Some time around when they moved adding new cards from the Settings app in addition to Wallet.

  • Eric

    SO i should sign up for Amex now? hahaha

  • Sure, but I’d also be patient (if what little birdies are telling me is correct).

  • Jeremy Spencer

    Does this mean you have further knowledge about the upcoming Apple Pay release?

  • GrannySmithBites

    If the banking cartel fails to support Apple Pay in Canada, keep in mind one word. Boycott. My TD Visa will go into storage. Luckily, I got an AMEX card in the Spring, so I am ready.

    But, we have to wonder why TD was testing Apple Pay info on their website. Maybe their web designers had nothing better to do than create those pages??

    The cartel, if they do hold out, are after only one thing. NOT happy customers, but just their bottom line. They don’t like the 15c per transaction going to Apple. For TD, how can security be an issue. They have had 10 months of experience with their US subsidiary.

  • #nocomment

  • kEiThZ

    All those Amex cards have more spend on them than most Visa/MC. That’s all Apple cares about.
    If you have a six figure income, chances are you have an Amex and 80-90% of the places you shop at will take Amex.

  • ticky13

    Regardless of whether Gary says to wait, you should get an Amex card anyway. Their Simply Cash card offers a far better cashback percentage than a majority of Canadian banks.

  • ticky13

    Didn’t know about this site. Will be adding Subway to it. Thanks.

  • ticky13

    AMEX is available at more locations than you probably suspect.

  • If I didn’t have an Amex already, I would have signed up immediately after the announcement. Some can’t be bothered though.

  • Rio

    Seems like it is gonna be very soon.

    Guessing Apple gave Amex first priority since they are world partners and the banks will follow a few weeks after

  • John

    I tried tonight. I have my region set to us. Tried to add my Amex card and it said Amex is only available in US and UK. I clicked agree anyways then I got an email stating to call Amex. I never called as Amex isn’t available in Canada yet. But must be close as I didn’t get this before.

  • MGSayah

    Damn… I almost wish I hadn’t cancelled my Amex card

  • xeronine992

    Not sure how many people will read this, but I did notice something interesting. On the Australian Amex Apple Pay page it specifically states “Bank issued American Express Cards will not be supported at this time.”, however on the Canadian Amex Apple Pay page it only says “Prepaid Cards and products (such as the American Express Gift Card) are not eligible”. No mention bank issued cards. I believe there is only one offered by Scotia Bank, so maybe that’s why it wasn’t mentioned. Still..