Interac Demos Canada’s First NFC Debit Transaction at Toronto McDonald’s (March 28, 2013)
Canada’s national ATM and debit network Interac this week announced the completion of the nation’s first NFC mobile debit transaction in a demonstration at a Toronto McDonald’s restaurant. The transaction showcasing the contactless EMV Interact Flash technology was conducted with an NFC-ready BlackBerry smartphone linked to a RBC Royal Bank customer’s bank account through mobile payment technology provided by Moneris Solutions Corp., Interac said. RBC says it plans to roll out free contactless debit capabilities to all its checking account customers later this year. Scotiabank is among other Canadian banks that plan to add contactless debit payment capabilities “in the near future.” Customers with NFC-ready phones whose banks support Interac Flash can tap to pay with their phones for “smaller-value” transactions at merchants equipped with contactless payment terminals, Interac said. Examples include $50 for routine purchases and $100 for gas and groceries; higher-value purchases require a card plus PIN, an Interac spokesperson tells Paybefore. RBC was the first to offer Interac Flash capabilities on debit cards in September 2011; since then Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust and Sunova Credit Union have added Interac Flash for debit cards, she says.
The Interac Flash NFC demo is a significant move “because it demonstrates that Interac is going to play in the mobile payments space,” Christie Christelis, president of Toronto-based payments consulting firm Technology Strategies International, tells Paybefore. BlackBerry currently has the edge in NFC-readiness in Canada, he notes, adding that Interac Flash will eventually migrate to other devices and other banks will likely follow suit in offering the service to consumers.