Canadian Banks: Consumers Slow to Adopt Complex Mobile Payments [PIC]


A new white paper released by Canada’s Big 6 banks and the Canadian Bankers Association has analyzed the mobile payment landscape in our country. Their conclusion is consumers have been slow to adopt mobile payments, mainly due to the fact proprietary SIM-based solutions are not ideal, according to The Globe and Mail.

The white paper, published yesterday, notes the perfect scenario for mobile payments in Canada and why it hasn’t happened yet, noting less than 25 percent of consumers can use these systems:

Ideally, consumers should be able to load any of their payment credentials (credit, debit) from any network (American Express, Interac, MasterCard, Visa), onto any mobile device (Android, Apple, Blackberry, Windows, etc.) on any mobile network (Bell, Rogers, TELUS, etc.). This is not possible today. Although there have been several products introduced into the market, consumer adoption remains low due to the deployment challenges associated with SIM-based solutions.

The Payments Security White Paper says the mobile payments industry faces a low acceptance rate, as contactless payments only see between 10-20 percent of total transactions here, noting “Because mobile payment capability is available to a small subset of the consumer population, it is challenging for issuers to communicate and promote mobile payments broadly and awareness of mobile payment remains low.”

The report notes how “the launch of Apple Pay in October 2014 has brought the “open mobile wallet” business model to the forefront,” and that “Apple is in the process of altering the US payments landscape.”

Below is an image of the complex mobile payment landscape in Canada:

Mobile payments canada

The white paper also says “the expected launch of Apple Pay in Canada will provide mobile payment capability for consumers who carry iPhone mobile devices.” Could this be a hint Apple Pay will be landing in Canada as rumoured for November?

The bottom line is the graphic above explains the problem with mobile payments in Canada. There are way too many carriers and banks involved, plus SIM-based solutions aren’t ideal, mainly because it doesn’t support the iPhone. Apple Pay is going to be a game changer for the first Canadian bank to support it here. There are people ready to change banks because of Apple Pay.

Just look at the Apple Pay launch in the UK, which kicked off yesterday. HSBC is a supported partner but won’t launch until the end of the month, but has responded to angry customers on Twitter about the delay. Barclays originally said it would not support Apple Pay but has quickly changed its mind.

Canadian retailers already have PIN and chip terminals available that support NFC, so Canada would be the next ideal partner for Apple Pay. All we can do now is hope it comes sooner, rather than later.


  • Jimbo

    Just get on with it Canadian banks. I use Apple Pay in the U.S. all the time but had to open a U.S. account to do so. Stop depending on the likes of Telcos and Cablecos – they can’t look after anything more advanced than running a wire for connectivity. Enough already.

  • hub2

    “consumer adoption remains low due to the deployment challenges associated with SIM-based solutions.”

    Yeah, adoption has been slow because current implementations are inconsistent, complex and crappy. Same reason why smartphones didn’t really take off with consumers until after the iPhone was released in 2007.

    As with the iPhone, the solution is conceptually simple: Introduce a straightforward, non-complex, and sufficiently secure option, and then watch adoption take off. We already have this with NFC credit cards and tap terminals, so let’s take the logical next step already.

  • Shawn Zeek Clarke

    This article basically illustrates that the banks/carriers are the ones causing the problems yet they try to pawn it off on “slow consumer adoption” … I would adopt a system that would make my life easier in a heartbeat – bring on Apple Pay and Google Pay anything else is a waste of time and money.

  • Bank issues white paper on why mobile payments are slow: consumers are slow to adopt complex mobile bank payment systems.

  • Nick Cameron Greene

    Not only are they complex, they just aren’t marketed or maintained. I just don’t understand why the big 6 are willing to spend millions on systems they don’t even care about themselves. Apple Pay is a no brainer, Apple does all the heavy lifting.

  • Ra

    I would say major banks in Canada doesn’t support iPhone for their mobile wallets.. That is a big issue for slow rate. I believe majority of Canadians have iPhone now. e

  • Common sense tells you the answer. We don’t like your overly complex, non-portable, half baked solutions.

  • winnertakesteve

    Uggghhhhhhh. They are insane if they don’t think this is inevitable. I can pay for so much with my phone already, this just adds an extra layer of convenience, so literally all they are doing is withholding consumer value.

  • Johnny S.

    Sick and tired of the idiotic Canadian banks and carriers. They really think their half baked solutions can beat apple’s!? If they are truly confident with their current solution, they wouldn’t be purposely delaying apple pay launch here. Bottom line: these banks and carriers are scared of competition, as usual.

  • Spittt

    One of the lesser known online banks might make a killing adding new accounts if they broke rank and offered Apple Pay. A lot of Apple users would probably open up an online account just to be able to use Apple Pay. All they would have to do is just get some help from Apple to advertise it.

  • tom

    I also have Apple Pay with a U.S. bank, in this case TD Bank. I’m a dual citizen, so it was easy for me to get a U.S. account, but anybody can, you just need a Canadian passport to “prove” that you can actually travel to the U.S. to use your account in the U.S.

    I haven’t really made a concerted effort to find all of the retailers in Canada that accept Apple Pay, but I have been able to use it at Home Hardware, Global Pet Foods, New York Fries, and KFC/Taco Bell. The ones where it has not worked are Shoppers Drug Mart, Canadian Tire, Metro, and a local mom and pop store.

    Newer PIN terminals with backlit screens seem to more likely have Apple Pay “capability” turned on by default, but that just may be a coincidence based on my extremely small sample size. The KFC terminal was an older non-backlit screen and it worked.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to have it for my TD Canada Trust account.

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    I would use contactless pay more often but cannot because of the daily limit of $100 at the terminals. Only gas stations would work but Costco does not accept contactless pay at their pumps. Hopefully with Apple Pay the limit will be raised.

  • I would much prefer using Apple Pay than all the disparate apps I have for paying for things. If the stupid banks think that it’s a difficult situation in Canada they should look south of the border where there are thousands of banks and Apple has to talk each one of them individually into joining Apple Pay. This is just a stupid report to cover up their resistance and make it our fault. The percentage of canadians who have enabled Tap&Go with their debit and credit cards is extremely high in Canada and we use the system. In the US it was extremely low basically because the US banks are only now moving to chip cards. They are so behind the times on their personal and financial security.

  • erth

    they are not doing it fast, because of lost revenue. they will continue to drag their feet until we force them to do it. firstly, stop using their complicated bank apps. then, start sending emails. let’s work together to get them moving on this.