Two New Products to Enter Canadian Wallet Arena (Nov. 7, 2013)
Canada seems poised to become the next battleground in the mobile wallet wars with a pair of new wallets joining the fray—one from a telecom provider, and the other from a team of banks.
Rogers Communications Inc. this week announced plans to launch what the company is calling Canada’s first mobile wallet provided solely by a telecom carrier. Dubbed suretap, the wallet will be available for select NFC-enabled smartphones in the coming weeks, and will offer a Rogers Prepaid MasterCard and a line of retail gift cards as the first cards available for download. The communications and media company has been exploring the payments arena for some time, applying for a banking license from Canada’s Finance Ministry in late 2011 (the licensing process is still ongoing) and partnering with Canadian bank CIBC last year on an NFC-based mobile payment app.
But Rogers isn’t having all the mobile wallet fun in Canada. PC Financial and TD Bank, two Canadian financial institutions, are planning a wallet of their own. Set to launch in the spring of 2014, the banks’ Ugo wallet will be available for Android and BlackBerry devices, and can be loaded with TD Visa and PC Financial MasterCard and PC Plus cards. Users can make contactless purchases and manage and redeem loyalty points with the wallet. The banks behind Ugo have signed on as a launch partner Canada’s largest food retailer, Loblaw Companies Ltd., which operates more than 1,000 grocery and general merchandise stores across the country.
Several other Canadian banks, including Royal Bank of Canada and BMO Bank of Montreal, have launched their own mobile wallets as financial institutions and telecom providers alike jockey for space in a Canadian mobile payments market seen as ripe with potential because of the country’s highly banked population, consolidated banking industry, broad smartphone penetration and governmental support for emerging payment technologies.