Tag Archives: Interac

Canadian Banks bank on NFC


Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto, Canada
Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Francisco Diez)

With RBC launching its Mobile Payment app, there are now 2 horses in the race for Mobile Payment domination. RBC has partnered with Interac to launch Interac flash, which means that this offering is not Telco bound. Theoretically this offering should work for any phone that has an NFC chip, regardless of Telco, allowing consumers to conduct a debit payment from their mobile phone.

Additionally, this offering is not tied to RBC alone; it will be available to other Banks and FIs who want to sign up for this enhanced Interac service. In contrast, the CIBC offering (earlier this year) also using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, is Telco bound to Rogers, and allows consumers to back their payment with a major credit card either VISA or MasterCard. CIBC and Rogers launched BB10 and Android versions of their app last week.

Interac
Interac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With both major bank offerings using the NFC technology for Payments, and a few of the other payment apps using QR code technology, such as Starbucks, and Western Union, it would seem to solidify the notion that the “wait to standardize” on a mobile payment technology is finally over, and the verdict is that a more “flexible” approach is required.
Mobile payment proliferation in Africa, Europe and Asia ahead of North America has chiefly been due to our waiting for a technology standard. Meanwhile the rest of the world has passed us by with a myriad of solutions, so hopefully we can learn from them for a change, and settle on the ones that work. The technology behind the mobile payments platform needs to be flexible enough to allow business owners to pick one that fits their specific needs, but not to the point when interoperability between the different technologies becomes a concern for consumers.

One of the key differences in the technology standard in North America and Europe, as compared to the third world, is that the populace in North America and Europe predominantly have bank accounts where as in the third world the users predominantly don’t. Therefore the technology standard in North America and Europe will more likely be driven via the banking system, which is why both bank offerings in Canada, the Royal Bank and Interac deal, and the CIBC and Rogers deal, are exciting.  We are already used to Interac brokering our other card based debit payments, and this deal is still open to other banks, FIs, Store Cards, etc who want to get in on the Mobile Payments bandwagon.  There is still room for potential disruptors such as Apple using their iTunes account, or Paypal with Paypal Here, to come in and take the glory.  The excitement is yet to begin!