June 26 , 2014

Mobile payments on a high growth trajectory in Canada

Oakville, ON – Mobile payments have ousted card-based contactless payments as the highest growth segment in the Canadian consumer payments market, says ‘Canadian Payments Forecast – 2014’, a study by Technology Strategies International Inc.  The report estimates that 22 per cent of smartphone owners have initiated a payment on their mobile phones in the past six months.  More than four out of ten of those consumers that made payments on their smartphones have conducted, on average, more than one payment transaction per month on their phone.

“Consumers are becoming more comfortable with using their mobile phones to initiate payments,” says Christie Christelis, president of Technology Strategies International, “but most of these transactions are for remote payments as opposed to in-store payments.”

Some of the barriers to adoption for in-store payments, Christelis says, are the lack of NFC-enabled smartphones, and the relative paucity of mobile wallets that offer credible mobile payments solutions to consumers.

“Only one in eight smartphones in use today have NFC capability,” says Christelis, “which is a severe limitation on consumer adoption. In addition, there are no general purpose multi-payment brand, multi-FI and multi-carrier mobile wallets available on Canadian market, which makes it difficult for a smartphone user to pay for goods in store, even if they wanted to.”

The report predicts that this will change dramatically within the next five years, with about half of the smartphones in Canada having NFC capability by 2018.  Other important growth drivers include the increasing penetration of contactless payment terminals at merchants, and the migration of contactless cards to the mobile platform.

“The awareness of Interac Flash has jumped dramatically over the past year,” Christelis says. “The uptake of card-based contactless payments has been vigorous. This is likely to spill over into the mobile payments space when NFC phones become entrenched, and when compelling mobile payment apps or wallets become available.”

Additional highlights from the study include:

  • The awareness of Bitcoin is high in comparison with other crypto-currencies, but consumers remain wary of all crypto-currencies, which is hindering adoption.

  • Cash will lose its position as the most frequently used form of payment in Canada to both debit card and credit card payments within the next five years.

  • P2P payments provide an excellent opportunity for innovative offerings to oust traditional P2P payment methods.

  • Pre-authorized credit card payments are making inroads into the pre-authorized debit market.

The 150 page report provides a comprehensive review, analysis and forecast of consumer payments in Canada.  It draws on established statistical sources as well primary research conducted by TSI amongst more than 2,000 consumers.  The report identifies high growth segments in the Canadian payments market in the context of some important recent developments in the economy, regulatory environment and the industry.  Detailed forecasts are presented for credit card payments, debit card payments, cash payments, cheque payments, contactless payments, open-loop prepaid cards, closed-loop gift cards, P2P payments, remittances, online payments, mobile payments, bill payments and transfers, ABM installations and POS terminals.





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