TD Bank CIO Predicts Apple Pay Launch in Canada “At Least a Year Away”

The third annual Mobile Enterprise Canada Summit started yesterday in Toronto and was kicked off by Jeff Martin, vice-president and CIO of Direct Channels Technology Solutions at TD Group, where he told the audience the company has some unique mobile solutions lined up for customers. He also had time to talk about Apple Pay, the upcoming NFC mobile payments solution from Apple.

Martin spoke about an ongoing pilot project where TD employees armed with tablets have been able to setup pop-up style branches at malls and even within retail stores. These mobile branches, according to the CIO, have employees selling 2.5 times more products per customer on average and is always a way to generate new client leads.

As Martin says, “Customers really liked the idea of interacting with a tablet in a friendly way and a human who’s helping them. . . the bank branch doesn’t have to be the bank branch that you think of today. The branch can be right here. It can be everywhere,” according to ITWorldCanada.

TD Bank’s mobile apps were recently updated to support photo chequing deposits, joining CIBC and Tangerine, plus other credit unions in launching the service.

Apple Pay Won’t Be Coming to Canada That Quickly

Martin also addressed Apple’s new NFC mobile payments system, Apple Pay. He says the bank is closely watching developments, but also reiterated the U.S. and Canadian banks are different in the way credit card and debit transactions are handled. Down in the States, banks can make fees off debit transactions, opposite of what Canadian banks are able to charge. For this reason alone, Martin opines Apple Pay is “at least a year away” from coming here.

He emphasized regulatory issues will have to be played out, but was also quick to mention TD Bank has their own mobile wallet that “can do what Apple Pay does”:

“There are a lot of regulatory things they will have to work out,” he said, pointing out that Canadians are not without their options. “We have a mobile wallet. We can do what Apple Pay does. You could have done it a few months ago.”

The CIO also stated security is paramount when it comes to mobile payments, sharing how he was working “on the phone” over the weekend to ensure systems were patched and updated from a recent Bash vulnerability in the UNIX command shell.

TUAW earlier today took an in-depth look at Apple Pay and how it aims to secure mobile payments. Apple will surely learn from its first Apple Pay implementation in the U.S., rumoured to go live on October 20 with iOS 8.1.

As for the rest us waiting for Apple Pay—it’s going to take a while to get to Canada. As Martin noted, regulatory issues take a long time to hash out here, so don’t hold your breath for an instantaneous debut.

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