Canada’s suretap Gets Support from More Wireless Carriers, CIBC (June 25, 2015)
A group of Canada’s major wireless carriers this week announced support for the NFC-based suretap mobile wallet, and with one major bank already on board, the move looks like a watershed moment for telco-led mobile wallets, which generally have struggled to catch on elsewhere. Toronto-based suretap rolled out last year from wireless carrier Rogers Communications Inc. and is a 2015 Paybefore Award-winner for its features enabling consumers to pay with a prepaid MasterCard backed by Peoples Trust, along with gift cards and private-label credit cards from participating Canadian retailers. The concept now has support from other wireless carriers including Bell, TELUS Corp., Koodo and Virgin Mobile, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), one of Canada’s five largest banks. The broad carrier support means Canadian consumers with at least 30 different Android and BlackBerry smartphone models can access suretap, which relies on a SIM-based secure element to store consumers’ card credentials. The app will come preloaded on all new models from participating carriers, suretap said.
Rogers laid the groundwork for expansion when it spun off suretap into a separate entity within the last year, and suretap’s success in getting support from multiple carriers is significant, because of the competitors’ willingness to cooperate on a workable business model, Christie Christelis, a principal with Toronto-based Technology Strategies International, tells Paybefore. Softcard in the U.S. and Weve in the U.K. foundered because each lacked sufficient participation from other carriers, handset manufacturers and banks. Christelis believes suretap could be off to a promising start with support from many carriers and a major bank. “The reason why suretap may be able to gain some advantage in the market is its cross-carrier reach, so each bank doesn’t need to do a separate deal with each carrier,” he notes. Consumers will have more options for using suretap regardless of their carrier, which could help drive adoption, he adds.
Competition for mobile wallets may be brisk in Canada, as other Canadian banks including RBC and TD each offer proprietary wallets, and Apple Pay is set to roll out in Canada soon, though no date has been announced.