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Financial industry announces guidelines for mobile payments in Canada

Last modified: 14 May 2012

With demand for mobile payments growing, guidelines provide safety and security for consumers, allow for innovation in the marketplace

For Immediate Release

TORONTO, May 14, 2012 – As Canadians continue to adopt mobile technology and as demand for mobile payments capability continues to grow, the banking industry and credit union system today announced a set of voluntary, secure, open guidelines for the development of mobile payments at 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.

Canadians are looking forward to being able to pay at point-of-sale with their mobile device, and today’s announcement of guidelines for mobile payments in Canada brings this closer to making it a reality. 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 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.

The guidelines were developed cooperatively by major Canadian banks and credit union groups1, to support innovation in the marketplace. Specifically the guidelines will benefit the market in a number of key areas:

  • Enabling Innovation: The guidelines provide a common framework for how mobile payments capabilities can work with existing payments systems such as contactless readers, which are already widely installed across Canada. A common foundation for mobile payments allows all market participants to benefit from the work done so far and to focus on delivering unique competitive offers to consumers.
  • Providing Clarity and Efficiency: A common framework allows for efficiency in the market in developing new mobile payments solutions for Canadians, as individual service providers will benefit from the foundation provided in these guidelines and can focus their investment on adding value for consumers.
  • Delivering Continued Security: The guidelines are designed to work with existing, secure contactless payment technology already in place today. This benefits merchants and consumers by building on an existing system, and leveraging the same high security standards used by today’s chip-enabled credit and debit cards.

The mobile payment guidelines have been developed to be in full compliance with Canadian regulations and will respect the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada. We look forward to working with the federal government on adaptations to the Code of Conduct to reflect emerging issues related to mobile payments.

As part of the process of establishing the guidelines, outreach was undertaken with a wide range of industry stakeholders to ensure the guidelines met the foundational needs of all parties for an open, fair, and secure system for mobile payments, and this dialogue is ongoing.

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

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

1Participating financial institutions:

  • BMO Financial Group (BMO)
  • National Bank (NB)
  • CIBC (CIBC)
  • Credit Union Central of Canada (Canadian Central)
  • Desjardins Financial Group
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • Bank of Nova Scotia (Bank of Nova Scotia)
  • Toronto Dominion Bank (TD)

About the Canadian Bankers Association

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 53 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 274,000 employees. The CBA advocates for effective public policies that contribute to a sound, successful banking system that benefits Canadians and Canada's economy. The Association also promotes financial literacy to help Canadians make informed financial decisions and works with banks and law enforcement to help protect customers against financial crime and promote fraud awareness. www.cba.ca.

Follow the CBA on Twitter: @CdnBankers

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For more information:

Rachel Swiednicki
Canadian Bankers Association
Tel: (416) 362-6093, ext. 220
Cell: (416) 416-587-7733
E-mail: rswiednicki@cba.ca