The Banking Industry Just Changed How Canadians Will Pay for Goods From Now On

Thanks to a brand-new set of forward-thinking guidelines revealed today, Canadian banks will soon enable consumers to pay for goods with a tap of their smartphones. As Reuters points out, thousands of Canadian retailers already have the necessary equipment for mobile payments in place – it was only a matter of the Canadian Bankers Association setting open standards for secure transactions over smartphones to ignite the banks.

“The financial institutions have come together to create a reference model that lays out how mobile payments can be launched in Canada efficiently, with a high degree of security and a compelling customer experience,” Stephen Gardiner, a managing director at consultancy Accenture PLC in Toronto, told Reuters. “These are all critical things to drive adoption.”

Canada’s banks must still reach agreement with both credit card companies and telecoms before launching any so-called mobile wallets. But Reuters says that “several sources involved in those talks said last month that the discussions were in their final stages.”

“The payment ecosystem takes the coordination of many parties to function effectively,” the CBA stated. “It is hoped that providing early clarity on industry participation in the ecosystem will help stabilize and build efficiencies into the future deployment of mobile payments in Canada.”

Quoth Reuters:

The trade body said the framework allows for different business models and ensures competition to accelerate adoption, while keeping confidential data secure and aligning with existing bank regulations.

Handset makers can also play a role independent of network operators, and the guidelines do not state a preference.

The guidelines cover near-field communication (NFC) chips showing up in a growing number of smartphones.

The chips can hold secure data and exchange it wirelessly across very short distances, meaning they can communicate with the sophisticated electronic readers already in Canadian shops from coast to coast.

It’s worth noting that Canada ranks second in the world for mobile payments adoption.

Photo: Mark Blinch/Reuters