Mobile Payment

Mobile Payment: A Revolution Made Possible by Your Telephone (1/2)

With the arrival of contactless cards, e-wallets, and mobile payment, we’re witnessing a major transformation in the field of payment solutions. Purchasing and payment methods for consumers are set to evolve significantly in the coming years.

Mobile payment makes it possible to use a smartphone instead of a contactless payment card. To carry out a transaction, the consumer simply places his/her phone in front of a merchant’s terminal. According to a study by the Canadian Bankers Association, 61% of consumers are partial to contactless card payment, and 57%, to mobile payment. Moreover, 23% of consumers believe that in the next 10 years, they will no longer be using cash. Despite this apparent optimism, however, both consumers and merchants are still asking many questions about the operation and advantages of mobile payment.

What Are the Concrete Advantages of Mobile Payment?

Mobile payment has all the advantages of contactless payment, in addition to some other specific advantages.


Mobile payment is quick (it takes just a few seconds) and doesn’t require a PIN. All you have to do is place your telephone directly in front of a merchant terminal.


At present, for transactions below $100, no signature or PIN is required. Such transactions are covered by the Zero Liability programs offered by MasterCard, Visa, and Interac. Solutions will gradually be added in order to protect transactions above $100. For example Apple Pay, recently launched by Apple in the United States, uses digital fingerprint verification. Other systems will make it possible to enter a PIN directly on one’s phone in future.


A telephone is generally within easier reach than a wallet. There’s no need to fumble around in your pockets or the bottom of your purse – all you need to do is pull out your phone to make a payment. This technology will probably do away with a good number of cash transactions.

Do Changes Need to Be Made to Points of Sale (POS) at Business Establishments?

Mobile payment does not require any changes to merchant equipment. In fact, POS components are the same as the components required to support chip cards and contactless payment. Many merchants are already equipped. Most merchants’ POS solutions are thus currently configured to accept mobile payment.

Is Canada Suitably Positioned?

Chip-card and contactless-payment technology is already widespread in Canada. In fact, Canada is the biggest user of contactless cards in the world.

The Canadian market is a mature one, which will make it easier to transition quickly to mobile payment. In addition, Canada has a financial system which is relatively centralized, facilitating the large-scale rollout of new standards. At the time of writing, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Desjardins Group, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank), and Scotiabank were all providing mobile payment service to their clients.

What Is the Situation in the United States?

Our neighbours to the south are in the early stages of the migration to chip-card technology. They will try to seize the opportunity to roll out contactless payment at the same time, but they have a long way to go, given the size of their market and the large number of parties involved, including banks and merchants. Canada currently has a significant advantage over the United States.

Technology Revolutionizing the Established Paradigms

It is interesting to see how quickly technology evolves and the point to which it has embedded itself into our lives, even shaping the way we pay for purchases and fundamentally transforming our institutions. Despite often being labelled conservative, banks today have no other choice but to innovate and offer consumers payment solutions which are technologically advanced and easy to use.

After this look at the advantages of mobile payment and the status of mobile payment in Canada and the United States, a second article will study the origins of mobile payment, the various parties involved in the rollout of the technology, and the future of mobile payment.


About the author

Nicolas Guay

Nicolas Guay

Senior Manager, Payment Solutions

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Nicolas Guay has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and over 20 years of experience in information technology, including more than 15 years in the payment field. Nicolas has been working at ACCEO Solution’s Payment Solutions unit since 2001. The Payment Solutions team, which is made up of approximately 100 seasoned professionals, is Canada’s largest and most important pool of electronic payment experts. In recent years, Nicolas has played a major role in the migration to chip and contactless technologies, working closely with many Canadian financial institutions.

ACCEO’s expertise covers all areas of electronic payment, and Nicolas is both delivery manager and product coordinator for ACCEO’s e-ACCEPT and Perceptech online payment services.

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