Canada poised to take mobile wallet lead

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding mobile wallets over the last year or so. Many smartphone makers, technology companies, and wireless carriers are looking to replace the traditional credit card or debit card with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that turns smartphones into mobile payment devices.

This technology has been available in several countries such as Japan and the UK for a while now but has yet to catch on with consumers.
One of the reasons cited for the poor adoption of cell phones is mobile payment devices is said to be the fact that the mobile phone payment methods are no better than the credit cards banks issue. Canada seems to have a chance to become the first country to truly adopt mobile wallets in force by consumers. 
The credit card terminals within the country typically support NFC credit cards issued by banks already. According to Reuters, these credit card readers will only need a software update to support reading financial payment data from the smartphone chips. 
The only part outstanding complete Canadian mobile phone payment system is an agreement between banks, credit card companies, and telecom carriers. It seems that the biggest hold up may turn out to be getting banks to agree. Some in the banking industry feel that mobile wallets will do to bank branches what mobile phones did the pay phone in past. When consumers widely adopted mobile phones, pay phones were suddenly not needed and are rare today.
"In Canada, we are more ready than probably any country in the world," said David Robinson, head of the emerging business team at Rogers Communications Inc.
A huge portion of the smartphones being shipped around the world today are coming equipped with NFC chips. A research firm called Berg Insights predicts 100 million mobile phones will ship this year with NFC chips inside. Sources close to the talks told Reuters that a deal between Canada's three major wireless carriers, telecom companies, and banks are in the final stages.

Wireless carriers and other technology companies in the US are also working on similar mobile payment systems such as the Isis project that has support of the three major wireless carriers in the US.

Source: Reuters

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