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Canada is positioned to be a world leader in mobile payments. In 2012, the “MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index” ranked Canada as the second most mobile-payment-ready nation in the world, trailing only Singapore.
Yankee Group projects the number of remote payment users in Canada will double by 2017. A number of factors make Canada fertile ground for the growth of mobile payments, including: penetration of contactless point-of-sale (POS) terminals among merchants, the necessary infrastructure for proximity-based payments and fewer players in the banking and mobile operator sectors, enabling strategic partnerships for mobile payments.
But as in many other markets, consumer adoption of mobile payments is still fragmentary in Canada. By one measure, well less than 10% of adult smartphone owners in the country have made a proximity-based payment using their mobile phones. (eMarketer defines mobile payments as transactions for goods or services initiated with a mobile phone at the POS through a variety of mechanisms, including near field communication [NFC], QR codes, SMS and mobile browsers and apps.)
Still, Canada is one of the most advanced markets globally for contactless cards and POS terminals. “The Canadian market has a significant head start on the deployment of contactless readers,” said Robb Duffield, CEO of Sequent Software, a secure wallet vendor. “In tandem with consumer adoption of contactless cards and smartphones, the Canadian market is ready to launch these services very, very quickly.”
The availability of “value adds” integrated with payment tools is clearly a method to increase consumer interest. An October 2012 survey from Accenture highlighted consumer demand for associated features with payments. More than half of Canada’s smartphone users said they “extremely desired” the following features on their phones: better financial management tools (57%), the ability to track receipts (54%), using the phone to show proof of insurance (53%) and using it to show a driver’s license (53%).
The Accenture research also showed that users in Canada were generally aware of available mobile payment options. A third of respondents were very much aware of the options available, while 32% indicated they were moderately aware.
The full report, “Canada Mobile Payments: Cultivating Fertile Ground,” also answers these key questions:
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