Task Force: Canada Lags Many in Mobile Payments 

March 29, 2012

The development of mobile payments in Canada lags behind many European countries, the developing economies of the BRIC bloc (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and “even Peru and Romania,” according to the final submissions from the Task Force for the Payments System Review. In 2010, Prime Minister Jim Flaherty formed the task force to examine the entire payments system and establish a road map to move beyond paper-based payments.

This week’s addendum to the final report released in December calls for a state-of-the-art mobile payments system for a population that is “among the world’s heaviest users of online shopping, banking and Web browsing.” The review blames the “stagnation” in Canada’s payment systems on the country’s “major banks and other key institutions.”

To close the mobile-payments gap, the task force recommended, among other things, that the federal government partner with the private sector to create a mobile device-based ecosystem, lead the development of digital identification and authentication systems to support such an ecosystem and create a new regulatory body to scrutinize it and to work toward overhaul of existing systems.

Canadian retailers welcomed the task force’s new recommendations.

The report contains a wide range of recommendations which could, if implemented, lead to a fundamental reshaping of Canada’s payment system,” says Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada. “RCC will continue to work with the finance minister to ensure that our members’ voices and business needs are of primary consideration.”