Mastercard to help Canada build its new real-time payments rails
Mastercard’s subsidiary Vocalink will act as the clearing and settlement solution provider for Canada’s new real-time payments rails.
Payments Canada, the body which operates Canada’s current payment clearing and settlement system, intends to oversee a revamp under the project name Real-Time Rail (RTR).
Both the Bank of Canada and the country’s finance department were involved in the more than year-long procurement process leading up to the deal.
RTR will be underpinned by the new ISO 20022 payments messaging data standard, which countries and firms globally are in the process of adopting.
RTR will see payments in Canada sent and received within seconds. The project – begun back in 2015 – will launch in 2022.
As well as speeding up domestic payments, RTR will also improve cross-border transactions, and overall transaction transparency.
It marks a big step in modernising Canada’s payments system. It will also open the market up wider for fintechs whose offerings are based on fast payments.
Tracey Black, Payments Canada’s CEO and president, says RTR will “support the long-term growth of the economy, and strengthen our [Canada’s] global competitiveness”.
RTR consists of two parts, with just one being the clearing and settlement component. The other will be an exchange.
It’s understood the latter part of the project is the final stages of procuring a vendor.
Vocalink’s global work
Vocalink, the London-based payment system company acquired by Mastercard back in 2017, already works with a host of other countries in this capacity.
It currently provides real-time bank account-based payment solutions in the US, Sweden, Thailand, and Singapore.
The Mastercard subsidiary is also working on a “world-first” project in the Nordics, called P27. It aims to become the world’s first real-time cross border and multi-currency payments system.