Mobile payments in Canada

So I was reading this post “Bank of Canada: Only 7% of Canadians use mobile payments” and it just seemed like the silliest thing I’ve read in a while. It doesn’t present the whole picture. It doesn’t go into the why only 7% of Canadians use their mobile devices to pay. It doesn’t explain what will need to change for that usage to increase.

Apple Pay, one of the services that has been most successful in the space wont be in Canada until November. That is another 2 months from now. There are reasons why a very small number of people use their devices to pay for things. Number one on my list would be knowledge. Who knows what shops accept payment via mobile device? I’ve got an iPhone 6 with NFC capability and Touch ID but I have no idea which retailers in Canada accept payments using my device. So until that knowledge becomes common people will always follow the easy route and reach for their debit or credit cards. I mean paying with tap is so easy and that is plagued wih the same problem as you tap and the retailer will say “sorry we don’t have Tap here”. The knowledge then extends to the staff at the checkout. If they aren’t knowledgable on whether the retailer accepts mobile payments, how to process those mobile payments usinig the point of sale terminal, then it’s as good as the retailer not offering that type of payment. Knowledge then extends to the customer who has to know, who accepts payments from mobile devices, if their mobile device can make payments, how to setup their cards on the mobile device, how to initiate the payment. These things all point to a very small amount of people who would have the knowledge right now.

I think when Apple Pay does arrive in Canada it will increase awareness. I think the process will have slow adoption at first because staff will need to be trained, machines will need to be upgraded, signs will need to be posted so people know mobile payments are accepted. However the large number of people with iPhones is a good thing and will I feel accelerate the adoption. Once the ball starts rolling it will bring awareness as more and more people start to make the payments quickly and easily. The other people in line will become curious and the knowledge will increase. Right now however, it comes as no surprise to me that there are only a small number of people making payments with their devices. I’m looking forward for all that to change!