Canada’s biggest telecommunications companies are rolling out a mobile payments app as Apple Inc.’s system approaches 1 million locations south of the border.
Telus Corp., BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. are debuting a new version of the Suretap app, which was previously only available to Rogers users. Wireless customers using the app on Android or BlackBerry phones will be able to pay at any retailer with a contactless payment terminal.
Tech companies like Apple, Google Inc. and EBay Inc. are swarming into mobile payments, a market that could process $142 billion in transactions by 2019, according to Forrester Research. Apple has said its Apple Pay system will be available in 1 million locations by July and the Wall Street Journal reported in April Apple Pay could come to Canada as soon as November.
As the mobile payments space develops, the carriers needed to have a presence, Jeppe Dorff, former vice president of transaction services at Rogers and president of Suretap, said by phone.
“Having a foothold and making sure that there is a consistent user experience is absolutely paramount to the wireless operators,” he said.
Telus fell 0.8 percent to C$42.29, Rogers rose 0.9 percent to C$42.59 and BCE gained 0.4 percent to C$53.71 at the close in Toronto.
Suretap only works with credit cards issued by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce but Dorff said he expects to announce compatibility with other banks in the summer and fall.
Dorff said he’s not worried about the prospect of Apple Pay coming to Canada. Apple’s entry into the market helps spread awareness of mobile payments, which helps everyone, he said.
“I don’t think that this is a matter of them versus us,” Dorff said. “There is, give or take, 70 percent of the population that is non-Apple and those consumers need a ubiquitous experience as well.”