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TD Canada Trust taps NFC to scale Canadian mobile payments

May 19, 2014

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Scaling mobile payments

TD Canada Trust gets a leg-up on competitors as the first North America bank to offer mobile payments across all three of Canada’s carriers.

The mobile payment feature has been built into the TD Bank app with NFC-enabled phones, which include Samsung Galaxy, HTC One and BlackBerry 9900 devices. While near-field-communications have been slow to take off in the United States, the market in Canada is significantly more lucrative since there are only three carriers in the country: Rogers, Bell and Telus.

“TD is the first North American bank to offer mobile payments on Canada’s three major wireless networks: Bell, Rogers and Telus,” said Hisham Salama, head of online channel customer protection and access management at TD Bank, Toronto, Canada.

“We believe with innovations like mobile payments, we can own the digital space the same way that we own customer comfort and convenience in our branches and stores,” he said.

TD Canada Trust is the small business and commercial banking operation of TD Bank.

Pay on mobile

To make a payment, consumers need to link a TD Bank credit card to the app. Then, they wave their mobile device over an NFC-enabled point-of-sale terminal and select the correct credit card that they want to fund the transaction. Mobile payments can be made up for up to $50.

Payments can be made at drug stores, coffee shops and restaurants in Canada and the United States using Visa payWave.

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TD Bank’s mobile app

As more consumers become comfortable paying for items via their mobile devices, banks are increasingly eyeing a bigger role to own the payment space.

Despite the fragmentation issues that multiple banks create in this space, these brands do bring a level of credibility that could be persuasive in getting consumers to adopt mobile payments.

Besides mobile payment, TD Bank’s app offers many of the standard features of banking apps, including money transfers, bill pay and a branch locator.

TD Bank will launch a marketing campaign next week in Canada to promote the new functionality to clients.

Drumming up international interest
TD Bank credits NFC as the most common and safe method of contactless payment in the Canada, which is a stark difference to the backlash that the technology has received in the U.S.

Last year, McDonald’s ran a tap-and-pay test in several Canadian restaurants that linked a transaction to a debit card (see story).

Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Framingham, MA, also cites hotels that use NFC-enabled devices as room keys as another example of Canada’s quicker adoption of the technology.

Per Mr. Kerr, two factors will speed up the adoption of NFC in the U.S.

The first factor is using mobile engagement inside stores, and the second is the rollout of EMV chip credit cards by U.S. companies.

“Using NFC for mobile payments is big mess in the U.S.,” Mr. Kerr said.

“The many moving pieces and conflicting interests have stifled NFC’s adoption,” he said. “To date, only specific merchants like Starbucks have cracked the code, but only inside the walled gardens of their apps.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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