Canada is a world leader in mobile payment technology – consistent with our history of early adoption of other new technology such as the Internet, debit cards, EMV, smartphones and contactless cards.

Despite common misperceptions, there are very few other countries around the world that have successfully deployed this level of secure, credit and debit card mobile payment capability. Singapore, Poland, Turkey, France are examples, but even their deployments are small. Most notable is just how far behind the US is, even now with barely any chip and PIN or contactless payment capability.

As of today, five of Canada’s six largest financial institutions have launched commercial service with one or more Mobile Network Operators across the country; CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank, TD, and, representing 85% of Canada’s retail banking customers. There are other financial institutions in progress. Connected MNO’s include Canada’s “Big Three”: Bell, Rogers and TELUS, as well as the two largest regional MNOs; MTS and SaskTel, which together represent over 95% of Canada’s wireless subscribers.

There are also at least two major open Wallet options, suretap and UGO to be launched commercially in the Canadian marketplace shortly.

Canada is far ahead for a number of reasons:

We have a relatively small number of both banks and mobile network operators, which allows for greater cooperation in terms of technical standards.

Canadian banks and MNOs have a tradition of investment and of efficient collaboration to overcome challenges due to insufficient scale.

Canada’s stable and predictable regulatory environment helps participants deploy new technology and business capabilities with confidence.

From the beginning of the technical development, the Canadian approach has been to make this mobile payment capability ubiquitous, recognizing that everyone will benefit from rapid and open development of the ecosystem. EnStream’s technology is therefore open and available to all MNOs, to all financial institutions and to all other issuers on consistent terms. This open market approach is in marked contrast to corresponding entities elsewhere (such as SoftCard (formerly ISIS) in the US, a Verizon, AT&T and T Mobile joint venture), which operate as closed shop monopolies/oligopolies which hinder growth.

Opportunities beyond Canada:

The Canadian-developed technology solution, incorporating leading global suppliers such as BellID® from the Netherlands and BlackBerry™  for secure hosting that is now already proving itself in the Canadian market is scalable and exportable globally – the delivery of credentials to SIM cards in NFC-enabled smartphones is supported by a global standard (known as GlobalPlatform, or “GP”) and is supported by the GSM Association, and is VISA and MasterCard certified Worldwide acceptance of contactless credentials has been endorsed by the major payment card associations with, as noted above, global deployment of the Visa, MasterCard, INTERAC and American Express contactless payment applications, payWave®, PayPass™, Flash™ and ExpressPay® respectively. 

EnStream is proud to be part of this Canadian success story, and is now actively looking at opportunities to carry our flag abroad.