Mobile Payments in Canada

Last modified: 19 July 2012

Canadians continue to adopt mobile technology and demand for mobile payments capability continues to grow. As a result, in May 2012 the banking industry and credit union system announced a set of voluntary, secure, open guidelines for the development of mobile payments at the point-of-sale in Canada.

The voluntary guidelines, technically known as the Mobile Reference Model, will serve as a blueprint for how mobile payment capabilities can be offered in the Canadian market, including guidelines around how information is exchanged among various parties to a transaction including financial institutions, payment card companies, telecommunications companies and merchants. While voluntary, the financial institutions that developed the guidelines are committed to these principles in the mobile market, and these guidelines are intended to create a path to help all market participants move forward in developing mobile payment solutions.

The guidelines are designed to provide clarity to the marketplace as various participants consider how they will meet the growing demand for mobile payments in Canada. These guidelines were developed as an outcome of the federal government’s Task Force for the Payments System Review in 2011, and provide definition for a fair, transparent, and competitive Canadian market for emerging payment options with mobile devices. By developing a set of guidelines that all participants in the payments marketplace can work within, the goal is to ensure safety, security and ease of use for merchants and consumers while allowing for innovation and competition among market participants.

The Mobile Reference Model (Guidelines) can be found here.

A summary of the Mobile Payments Reference Model is also available.

Questions about the Mobile Payments Reference Model (the Guidelines) can be directed to: