The Canadian payments landscape just got more tap-happy; Apple Pay, the popular third-party tap-and-go mobile wallet that stores credit card debt cards, is now being widely offered by Canada’s big banks.
Scotiabank and TD are the final of the Big 5 to embrace the FinTech payment solution, which works on Apple iPhone 6, iPads and the Apple Watch. CIBC and RBC launched their Apple Pay support on May 10. BMO has announced its debit cards are also now compliant as part of Apple Pay’s additional deal with Interac.
“Today's announcement brings mobile payments to the mainstream, with Canada's five largest financial institutions now offering Apple Pay to Interac debit cardholders," stated Mark O'Connell, president and CEO of Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation.
The widespread adoption of Apple Pay has been slow in Canada. Despite being launched in the U.S. in 2014, it didn’t arrive on Canadian soil until November of last year, and was initially only available for American Express cardholders.
It’s speculated the app’s initial restricted availability was due to conflicts between Apple’s fee structure – up to $0.15 on the dollar of each transaction – and the bank’s interchange fee system. The latter was recently capped to an average of 1.5% by a government initiative. As American Express operates on a ‘closed loop’ system, with fees going directly to the provider and bypassing a lender middleman, it’s possible it provided a red tape-free method that allowed Apple to infiltrate the Canadian market while hammering out agreements with the remaining lenders.
The partnership between the banks and Apple is a nod to Canada’s lenders’ efforts to embrace – and adapt to – the nation’s rapidly growing FinTech industry.
"At Scotiabank, we are embracing a digital transformation and are committed to providing our customers with safe, secure and innovative financial tools and services that are tailored to their needs," stated Mike Henry, executive vice president of Retail Payments, Deposits and Unsecured Lending at Scotiabank. "We are delighted to add Apple Pay to our robust line-up of mobile payment solutions."
Apple Pay lands in Canada