Paves the way for mobile payment growth

Oakville, Ontario — The value of contactless payments made by consumers in Canada more than doubled over the past year, according to a new study published by Technology Strategies International Inc. The report titled, Canadian Payments Forecast – 2016, estimates that the value of contactless payments transactions increased by about $30 billion in 2015, on the back of more than 1.2 billion transactions.

“The contactless market has evolved to the point where consumers are frustrated if the merchant doesn’t accept contactless payments,” says Christie Christelis, President of Technology Strategies International. “A number of merchants have found it necessary to place signs on their POS terminals apologizing for the inability to accept contactless payments.”

Contactless acceptance is, however, growing rapidly, but the report suggests that consumers expect contactless POS terminals to be ubiquitous, and in particular at grocery stores and supermarkets, the most popular category for contactless payments Other barriers to contactless payments are the lack of availability of contactless debit payment cards, especially amongst BMO customers, forcing them to use credit cards, or switch banks if they want to join the ‘tap’ revolution using their debit cards.

“Only about one in six people who own contactless payment options do not use them,” Christelis says

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. “And people are using their contactless payment cards more and more frequently, approaching three times a month, on average.”

Mobile payments at merchant outlets will make use of the same acceptance infrastructure as contactless payments, he says, and the rapid uptake of contactless payments amongst consumers will make the switch to mobile contactless payments fairly easy when the time is right.

“At the present time the mobile payments landscape has not yet evolved to the point where it is easy for a consumer to embrace mobile payments,” says Christelis. “NFC phones still have to make their way into the market en masse, and while some mobile payment options do exist, they don’t work seamlessly for every customer, on any phone, with any payment credential, over any network.”

Apple Pay’s recent announcement that it will work with major banks in Canada, rather than just American Express, to bring mobile payments to market for iPhone users will undoubtedly have an impact on the market, he says, but it will take some time before this, and others like Samsung Pay and Android Pay, will filter through to consumers and achieve mainstream adoption.

The report predicts that the mobile payments landscape in Canada will change dramatically within the next five years, with more than three quarters of the smartphones in Canada having NFC capability by 2020, and major financial institutions and other key players releasing mobile wallets and applications that are more in line with consumer needs than the current slew of offerings.

Additional highlights from the study are:

  • Debit and credit card payments accounted for more than 60% of personal consumption expenditure in 2015
  • Debit card transactions and credit card transactions will exceed cash transactions in 2016 and 2020 respectively
  • Cash usage is declining, but at a relatively low rate
  • Smart phone penetration is likely to reach 90% by 2020
  • Online payments continue to experience high growth
  • The usage of Bitcoin has doubled over the past year

The 260-page report provides a comprehensive review, analysis and forecast of consumer payments in Canada. It draws on established statistical sources as well the Canadian Consumer Payments Survey, 2016, conducted by TSI amongst more than 2,000 consumers. The report identifies high growth segments in the Canadian payments market in the context of some important recent developments in the economy, regulatory environment and the industry. Detailed forecasts are presented for credit card payments, debit card payments, cash payments, cheque payments, contactless payments, prepaid cards, gift cards, P2P payments, remittances, online payments, mobile payments, bill payments and transfers, ABM installations and POS terminals.

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