Apple Pay now available in Canada, but only with American Express
Apple Pay now available in Canada, but only with American Express

Apple Pay now available in Canada, but only with American Express

Apple Pay is now available in Canada. That’s a line I’ve wanted to write for over a year, and now it’s real.

The biggest tech company in the world’s move into mobile payments isn’t without its caveats, but even in its limited reach, Apple Pay will have a halo effect on the rest of the Canadian payments industry.

Users will be able to hold iPhones and watches up to in-store contactless payment terminals, which will send encrypted data to the merchants and record the transaction in the user’s app. Apple Pay will also be available for online purchases made through iPads and iPhones on apps including Domino’s, Starbucks and Groupon.

However, Apple Pay’s long-rumoured entry will be limited to American Express cards, which are used in just two per cent of Canadian payment transactions. It is also only available for the newest iPhone models such as the 6 or 6S.

That means Apple Pay will not immediately be the great unifier that observers have said is necessary for wider adoption of mobile payments in Canada. The company declined to comment on whether it is working on bringing other partners on board, but suggested it wants to bring the system to as many Canadians as possible.

The exclusive deal with American Express allowed it to sidestep negotiations with Canada’s Big Five banks, which issue MasterCard and Visas.

American Express acts as its own credit card issuer in Canada. It has a partnership with Scotiabank, but those cards are not covered in the agreement.


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