June 14 , 2012

Canada must move quickly to be a leader in mobile payments: CIBC's Jim Prentice

QUEBEC CITY-- Participants in the Canadian mobile payment space, including financial institutions, wireless providers, networks and regulators, must act now and put a renewed focus on clients if Canada wants to be a leader in mobile payments, said the Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., Vice Chairman of CIBC.

Speaking at Payments Panorama 2012, the Canadian Payment Association’s biennial conference, Prentice said that innovation in mobile payments is going to happen suddenly and if Canada and its financial institutions want to be leaders they must find ways to innovate.

"Consumer issues should be paramount. And what consumers want is all of the security, safety and soundness they have come to expect, but with added speed and convenience," said Prentice. He added that Canada has the right elements for moving ahead with innovations in mobile banking and was second only to Singapore in a recent Mobile Payments Readiness Index.

Prentice also spoke about the partnership between the Canadian Bankers Association and the financial services industry to create voluntary guidelines for mobile banking.

"If we are smart - if we compete at some levels, and cooperate at others, around things like standards — Canada has a real opportunity to move into a leadership position in mobile payments. And we absolutely have the capacity to be leaders," he said. "We just need the will."

The government also has a role to play by creating a level playing field by bringing all competitors under the same regulatory umbrella. But it needs to be done in a way that does not impede innovation or cooperation, but fosters it so that those who choose to play in this newly defined space can accelerate the pace of change, said Prentice.

"We simply need to be bold enough to act and wise enough to partner with other like-minded leaders to make the best use of the opportunities before us to serve our customers and Canadians," he concluded.

Last month, CIBC announced Canada's first joint mobile payment solution with Rogers Communications, which will allow Canadians to use their smartphones to pay with their CIBC credit card at the checkout counter. 


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