Apple Pay Code Shows ‘Interac’ for Canada; China UnionPay Launch Feb. 17

More hints are coming that Apple Pay could expand in Canada, to France and launch in China this week.

Back in late December, Apple announced Apple Pay would launch in China for UnionPay cardholders, set for “early 2016”.

Now, Chinese bank partner Guangfa Bank (which supports UnionPay cards), has apparently leaked the Apple Pay launch date to customers via their WeChat account, noting a launch date of February 18, at 5AM local time, which will require iOS 9.2 or later or watchOS 2.1 or later (via Sina).

Apple pay china

Meanwhile, PassKit source code within iOS 9.2.1 contains references to “NetworkInterac”, which is definitely evidence Apple Pay support from Canadian banks may be coming soon (thanks @chasefromm2016).

Interac apple pay

Reference to this was also discovered earlier via the Chinese Feng forums last month:

Interac apple pay

Interac was founded by RBC, CIBC, Scotiabank, TD, and Desjardins back in 1984 and is headquartered in Toronto. The group also includes the Bank of Montreal, Canada Trust, Laurentian Bank, National Bank and Credit Union Central of Canada, which joined a year later.

With Interac support from major Canadian banks, this would also likely include Visa and MasterCard support too, if it were to become available. Currently, Apple Pay in Canada only supports cards issued by American Express. Way back, TD Canada Trust accidentally leaked Apple Pay support on their website.

Other Apple Pay rumblings coming from iGen are noting sources claim Apple Pay is coming to France in the first half of this year, which could coincide at the company’s special event next month or even WWDC.

The bottom line is evidence of “NetworkInterac” in PassKit source code is a heavy indicator Canadian bank support for Apple Pay could be coming soon, either at next month’s iPad 3/iPhone 5se event (when iOS 9.3 arrives too?), or WWDC 2016.

Thanks Kevin!

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

  • Oh I hope so!

  • Bring it on, Canadian banks

  • MGSayah

    But what about BMO? I don’t think their debit card supports Interac

  • Strigoi

    I hope this gets going ASAP. I have been waiting to use my debit card with apple pay.

  • aaloo

    man, make it happen already. its so freakin annoying. and on a separate note, its also annoying how apple watch is going for 250 dollars in US best buy and 450 plus tax here in canada. ridunculous.

  • Vapor Chase

    Yes, BMO supports Interac. I bank with them and use it all the time. Whether they support RFID tap ‘n go I don’t know. My bank card doesn’t it so I dunno.

  • jmcd102

    If this is true, Amex caused the big banks to back down quickly. I still will use Amex as a first choice though.

  • Mrleblanc

    Import it

  • Matt Martone

    I’m really hoping for this. This major feature has pretty much been missing on the iPhone here in Canada for the last year and a bit.

  • winnertakesteve

    Preparing myself for more disappointment. I’m sure Apple has had the backend ready for some time. The Td website leak shows they can apparently get very close to an announcement and then have the deal fall through.

    Heck I wouldn’t be surprised if Canadian banks pull some nonsense like charging their own end user fee for the privilege of Apple Pay – in like 3 years from now. :-/

  • iPedro1000

    Yep. Good move by Apple. The banks wanted to play chicken and they lost. Apple went ahead and went around them with AMEX. They lost all of my credit and debit transaction fees because I stopped using both my VISAs and debit cards and went exclusively with AMEX for all my purchases.

  • Daniel Feodoroff

    If Apple signed up with Visa Digital Enablement Program the Apple Pay expansion would be so much bigger.

  • jay

    apple wants money for every transaction. canadian banks don’t want to pay for that. in the states there are way more banks…. when no bank start with it there won’t be nay support. simple as that. sure apple write the code for it just in case.

  • Andre

    Same with me. I just want to use my debit card with Apple Pay.

  • erth

    did someone retire at the big banks so that the younger people could make a progressive decision?

  • JonathanM

    To the Canadian Bank cartel:
    1. Your own mobile payment solutions are designed by people who can’t even write a proper iPhone app, and it will fail.
    2. The more you delay apple pay support, the more transactions I will conduct on my Amex card!

  • mxmgodin

    As @vaporchase:disqus said, BMO debit cards support Interac. Though, they do not issue Interac Flash (tap-to-pay) cards.

    I do not know if this has any effect on whether or not that would prevent them from being Apple Pay-compatible though. My guess it that it would depend on how the Apple Pay activation is programmed on the bank’s side, but I am not sure.

  • I just hope this is true finally…. We’re so advance on contactless payment (most of the places accept it) but still far behind with Apple Pay…

    Still didn’t have a chance to play with Apple Pay yet, since no Amex… but my question about it if it’s true with Interac….
    I understand with Credit Card, you use your phone / fingerprint and Voila…. but for bank card, what happen if someone got 2 different accounts linked to the ATM card ? when you pay Interac, you usually select the type of bank account… Just curious…

  • makeittalk

    Right. Let me hold my breath.

  • avonord

    Isn’t interac a debit card thing, rather than credit card? I’m not holding my breath on this. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Patrick Ducharme

    Credit card transaction here are all done thru Interac. Interac also does debit, but anytime you pay in Canada with a credit card, that goes mostly thru Interac network.

  • Nick

    I would assume that when you set it up it’ll ask you what account you want to use by default. Or it may just default to chequing

  • avonord

    I’m not sure about that. The underlying tech may be the same as credit card but I think interac is specifically for debit card transactions only. Take a look at the wiki for interac, assuming it is correct.

  • xeronine992

    Just looking at the back of two of my cards.. My Visa lists Interac and Plus network, where as my MasterCard only lists Cirrus. I do believe you may be incorrect.

  • I was thinking the same 🙂

  • Normyd

    McDonald’s had a sign up in there door for apple pay.

  • Grant Logan

    I’d be rather pleased if they supported Interac, less to go to the greedy payment networks.