UnionPay begins mobile payments rollout in North America

UnionPay QR code payment debuts in North America — UnionPay International — “UnionPay International announced today that it has partnered with Bank of China (Canada) in enabling all the stores of Foodymart in Canada to accept UnionPay QR code payment… Some food and beverage merchants in California, the US, have recently started accepting UnionPay QR code payment too… It is expected that the number of merchants accepting UnionPay QR code payment in North America will reach 5,000 within this year.”


Canadian banks and carriers to roll out digital ID platform

Canadian mobile digital identity service to launch this fall — IT World Canada — “A long-awaited Canadian mobile digital identity validation service supported by Canada’s biggest banks and telcos will launch this fall… Called Verified.Me, the service installs an app on a mobile device that confirms a user’s identity, allowing businesses and governments to immediately do transactions without demanding proof of identity.”


National Bank of Canada lets merchants accept contactless payments on their Samsung smartphones

National Bank launches Easy Pay, a mobile point-of-sale solution enabling Canadian SMEs to accept contactless payments — National Bank of Canada — “With Easy Pay, merchants can accept payments in person using a compatible smartphone — no peripherals required. After registering for the Easy Pay solution, they simply download the Easy Pay app in order to accept payments from customers using an eligible contactless credit card or via the customer’s digital wallet.”


Translink adds mobile payments for transit users in Vancouver

Tap to Pay — Translink — “On May 22, our card readers will accept contactless Visa and Mastercard credit cards and Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. For customers without Compass Cards, this new feature will mean no more ticket line-ups, digging for exact change, or worrying about pre-calculating zones. You can tap a contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card or mobile-payment method on card readers to pay your adult, cash fare. Note: card readers will not accept debit cards.”


Google expands support for wearable payments to Canada, Spain, and Australia

Google Pay on Wear OS officially spreads to three new countries — Android Police — “In addition to using NFC-equipped watches to make regular mobile payments, users in Australia can use their Wear OS devices with the Opal ticketing system to pay for single-trip tickets on select rail and ferry lines… Formerly, Google’s payment service was only supported on Android Wear (now Wear OS) devices in the US and the UK.”


Canada to test blockchain and biometric identity concept that lets travellers control their own ID

Canada to test advancements in biometrics and blockchain to welcome international travellers — World Economic Forum — “The Known Traveller concept is founded on the principle that an individual traveller has control over the use of their own identity and its components. Due to this decentralization of control over the components of their identity, a traveller can push proof of their identity information — secured by distributed ledger technology and cryptography — to governmental and private-sector entities throughout their journey.”


TD Bank acquires artificial intelligence specialist Layer 6

TD Bank Group acquires artificial intelligence innovator Layer 6 — TD Bank — “Layer 6 adds new capabilities to TD’s growing base of innovation talent and know-how. Artificial intelligence has the potential to power a new generation of data-driven applications from personalized and real-time advice to predictive analytics that will shape the future of banking for millions of individuals.”


Trimet to roll out world’s first integration of transit ticketing card with Android Pay

Portland-Vancouver’s Hop Fastpass partners with Google, becoming the first virtual transit fare card available within Android Pay globally — TriMet — “TriMet and Google are teaming up for a first — making Hop Fastpass the first virtual transit card available in Android Pay starting early next year… In December 2017, a select group of TriMet, C-Tran, and Portland Streetcar beta testers will be able to load a virtual Hop card into Android Pay — giving them the ability to tap their phones to pay for their fares and receive all the benefits of a physical Hop card.”


Bank of Canada reports on the potential of digital currencies

Central Bank Digital Currency: Motivations and implications — Bank of Canada — “This paper addresses the question of whether a central bank should issue digital currency that could be used by the general public. It begins by discussing the possible motivations for a central bank to issue a digital currency. The paper then sets out a benchmark central bank digital currency (CBDC) with features that are similar to cash. The implications of such a digital currency are explored, focusing on central bank seigniorage, monetary policy, the banking system and financial stability, and payments.”


Canadian banks, carriers and government back blockchain-based digital IDs

Forget iris scans, Canadians to use blockchain for digital IDs — Bloomberg — “Soon Canadians will be able to verify personal information for everything from driver’s licenses to banking using mobile phones and blockchain… Canada’s six largest lenders, including Toronto-Dominion Bank and Royal Bank of Canada invested C$30m (US$24m) in the project. The country’s three main wireless carriers — owned by Rogers Communications Inc, Telus Corp and BCE Inc — are also involved through their EnStream venture, along with a number of provincial governments.”


Rambus supports launch of Interac debit payments on Samsung Pay in Canada

Rambus collaborates with Samsung Canada and Interac to help deliver Samsung Pay in Canada — Rambus — PARTNER NEWS — “Rambus Inc, a leader in digital security, semiconductor and IP products and services, announced that it has teamed with Samsung Canada and Interac Association/Acxsys Corporation, the organizations behind Canada’s leading payment brand, to help enable Interac Debit on Samsung Pay in Canada. The Interac Token Service Provider (TSP), developed in collaboration with Rambus, now helps allow Interac users to make secure mobile debit payments through tokenized transactions using Samsung Pay.”


Samsung Pay adds Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Interac debit options in Canada

Samsung Pay expands in Canada with new partners — Samsung Electronics Canada — “Following a successful introduction with CIBC in the Canadian market, Samsung remains committed to enhancing Samsung Pay and making it a holistic digital wallet extending beyond credit cards with the introduction of debit cards and new partners including Interac Debit, Scotiabank, American Express Canada, ATB Financial, Visa Canada and Mastercard. In addition, Samsung Pay will be made available soon to Tangerine and Peoples Card Services customers.”


Survey: Market fragmentation is holding back the adoption of mobile payments in Canada

Fragmentation, lack of interest to blame for poor mobile payments adoption in Canada — MobileSyrup — “While almost half of Canadians made a contactless purchase with their debit or credit card, the percentage of mobile payments users for platforms like Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay is in the low single digits — even though awareness is “relatively high,” with roughly half of those polled stating they were aware of one of the big three platforms.”


Canadian bank lets customers use learning AI to transact in Facebook Messenger

ATB Financial rolls out world’s first full-featured virtual banking assistant on Facebook Messenger — ATB Financial — “What makes ATB’s virtual assistant unique? Far beyond a Q&A chatbot, its sophisticated banking transaction abilities offer robust personal financial management tools tailored to fit the needs of each individual customer. Customers can seamlessly pay bills, view account balances, send Interac e-Transfers or transfer money between accounts, as well as perform cross-currency money movement all from within their Messenger platform… The virtual assistant is always learning. The more customers engage with it, the more it will be able to do.”



TD Bank to add AI to mobile banking app

TD announces conversational AI platform agreement with Kasisto — Kasisto — “Through the AI-powered interactive chat interface, TD app users will be able to check account information, review transaction histories and monitor spending levels. In addition, customers will also be able to get instant answers about specific spending-related questions including how much they spent on a recent weekend getaway, what their largest transaction was last week, or what they spent on categories like groceries or coffee last month.”


GlaxoSmithKline puts NFC tags on store shelves

Thinfilm and GlaxoSmithKline bring NFC technology to leading over-the-counter brand Flonase — Thinfilm — “GSK introduced interactive ‘smart’ Flonase shelves in retail stores across Canada in an effort to educate consumers about the new product and guide them in their purchasing decision… The cloud-based platform integrates with the NFC hardware, enabling GSK to manage tags remotely, deliver custom messaging and content, view real-time consumer tapping activity, and develop valuable consumer insights through built-in analytics functionality.”


American Express launches mobile-first credit card in Canada

American Express goes mobile-first with its new millennial-facing credit card — IT Business Canada — “According to AmEx director of new product development Laura Cocksedge, the card was designed start to finish as a mobile-first experience, with users able to use the Cobalt’s accompanying app to register for the card, verify their identities, track their spending, and use it with mobile payment platforms including Apple Pay, Android Pay, and American Express’s own AmEx Pay.”


More than half of consumers in US, Canada and UK expect to abandon cash in next two years

Consumers to abandon cash by 2020 — Paysafe — “In Canada and the UK, contactless has paved the way for this new era of payments, with three out of five consumers regularly using it for purchases, 62% citing it as more convenient than cash, and 44% stating they preferred to shop in places that take contactless… However, it is America that is very much leading the way in new payment methods with nearly a third (31%) using mobile wallets and one in seven using cryptocurrencies.”


RBC first bank in Canada to enable bill payments using Siri

RBC first bank in Canada to enable bill payments using Siri — Royal Bank of Canada — “Thanks to an update to the RBC Mobile app, Royal Bank of Canada personal banking clients are now the first in Canada who can ask Siri to pay their bills on iPhone and iPad. RBC also launched seamless Interac e-Transfer payments within iMessage, which means clients can send a transfer without leaving their iMessage window.”


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