Canadian operators zoom past NFC

Zoompass, a joint venture between Canada’s three leading mobile operators, is taking a new approach to the lack of NFC handsets by linking its new mobile wallet to a standard prepaid bank card.

STAKING A CLAIM: The payments system is the result of a joint venture between Canada's three leading MNOs
STAKING A CLAIM: The payments system is the result of a joint venture between Canada's three leading MNOs

Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus, Canada’s three leading mobile operators, have launched Zoompass, a mobile wallet service that has taken a new approach to the problem of enabling consumers to use their mobile phone to pay for retail goods and services.

Customers download the Zoompass to their mobile phone, load funds into their account via their bank account or credit card and can then use the phone to send and receive money, including between friends and family, check their balance and review their transaction history.

“Zoompass makes it easy to split a lunch bill, request money from parents, collect sports team fees, solicit money for a co-worker’s gift, or even pay a babysitter — right from a mobile phone,” says the official announcement.

To complete the circle, Zoompass customers can also apply for a Zoompass Prepaid MasterCard, issued by Peoples Trust. This lets them make purchases at any MasterCard-accepting merchant and have the cost of the transaction automatically debited from their Zoompass account.

It’s clear, too, that the operators see this initial launch of Zoompass as only stage one in the development of a full mobile commerce ecosystem.

“The launch of Zoompass represents an important milestone towards developing a mobile commerce ecosystem in Canada that provides users a convenient mode of doing everyday transactions with their phone,” says Robin Dua, president of EnStream, the joint venture company set up by the three operators to manage the Zoompass system.

“Think of it as a mobile wallet, with this as the cash part,” David Robinson, vice-president of new business planning for Rogers, has told the Toronto Star. “Credit cards come next. Then loyalty programs, keys and (personal) identification. This is the beginning of mobile commerce.”