Mobile payments are slowly stepping into Canada

Canadians still prefer cash, but they are slowly starting to pick up their smartphones to make purchases.

According to the latest report from Technology Strategies International, a research firm, there is a very slow but upward growth of contactless mobile payments in Canada, to the degree that it will one day replace the current leader, cash.

The most recent report said that over half of Canadian smartphone owners had used their device for a transaction.

The report was called Canadian Payments Forecast – 2013 and it stated that over half of the smartphone owners in Canada had made a purchase at some point in which they used mobile payments to complete the transaction. Most of those were in the form of remote transactions, such as paying a bill through their bank’s smartphone app, or purchasing a product over the internet.

The use of mobile payments while in stores remains quite low despite the fact that remote transactions are common.

Canada Mobile PaymentsAccording to the Technology Strategies International president, Christie Christelis, “The incidence of in-store payments using mobile phones is very low.” Christelis went on to explain that “But with the increasing penetration of contactless payment acceptance terminals, coupled with the proliferation of NFC (near field communications)-enabled phones, we expect that by 2017 there will be almost 3 million regular mobile payment users in Canada.”

The report indicated that the primary mobile payments growth drivers within the marketplace in Canada include higher personal spending on products and services, as well as deeper electronic payments penetration of digital transactions into areas in which checks and cash had previously dominated.

Christelis explained that over the last two years, there has been a 20 percent increase in awareness of contactless mobile payments options that are available to consumers, adding that the familiarity with contactless cards as a transaction option is growing among Canadians, and those are being used more often. In that way, contactless transactions have already been making steps toward displacing the use of cash. It is expected by the report that this will become much more significant through the use of smartphones as well as cards, for the next five years.

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