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The use of mobile payments is steadily gaining traction in the US, though hurdles to widespread adoption remain. Similar conditions are evident in Canada, where the fragmented market and the lack of devices enabled with near field communication (NFC) are slowing growth and prolonging a mobile payments future.
According to May 2013 research from technology market analysis firm Technology Strategies International, half of smartphone owners in Canada said they have used their phones to make payments, and by 2017, there will be almost 3 million regular mobile payment users—specifically those making NFC payments.
While the majority of digital purchases are being made on desktop devices, smartphone and tablet digital purchases are not far behind. In fact, almost a third of 18- to 34-year-olds are making purchases via their smartphone device, according to an Ipsos Reid survey from July 2014.
In a February 2014 survey from payment processor TSYS, some 6% of internet users in Canada said they have made a payment at a retail location with a mobile device. That number might seem low because credit and debit cards are still the preferred payment method. TSYS also found that more than two-thirds of respondents reported using their credit and debit cards to pay for purchases.
The lack of NFC-enabled smartphones available could be what’s holding back adoption. Only 9.6% of smartphone owners in Canada polled by Technology Strategies International said they owned one. That number is expected to increase to 50.0% by 2017.
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