“Mobile wallet” launching in Canada within six months, carriers currently in final talks with banks

EnStream, the Rogers/Bell/TELUS joint venture, is poised to bring the “mobile wallet” to Canadians by this coming Summer. This term – mobile wallet – refers to the ability to pay for various items via your mobile device, with a greater goal of eventually replacing your physical wallet. So no more credit cards, loyalty cards, bank cards, drivers license, or even carrying coins to purchase coffee or buying gas. Everything will be stored on your mobile device.

Canadians still have security concerns by using a banks mobile app to check their account balance or transfer funds. The latest comScore stats showed that 33.3% of mobile subscribers use a mobile banking app (based on 20,111,000 wireless subscribers). Of course, we’re still in the early days of this technology and to make it work you’ll need a device with NFC (Near Field Communications) capabilities, such as the BlackBerry Bold 9900, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, Sony Xperia S.

Almis Ledas, COO of EnStream stated that “banking machines will become the payphones of the future” and they are in final talks with the banks to make the mobile wallet happen within the next few months. It’s not currently revealed who, but probably CIBC, TD, RBC, Scotia, BMO, and maybe even Rogers’ own “Rogers Bank“. Reuters is reporting that the Big 3 are interested in charging “a flat annual fee to allow a bank to load a consumer’s financial credentials on the SIM card inside a NFC-enabled smartphone. That would allow the phone to replace a debit or credit card, but would not offer the phone company a cut of any transaction made over smartphones.” That’s an interesting model. So the wireless carriers would charge the banks a flat fee, then the banks would potentially charge the customers and/or merchant.

Last September at the CWTA Wireless Showcase I was given a quick look at the Enstream’s NFC mobile payment app. At the time it worked well, however it was only a demonstation and not fully rolled-out. Once you decided to purchase an item, the merchant would enter the cost and you’ll access the associated card on your mobile device, then tap the payment terminal and the funds will be debited/credited from your account. The video demo is embedded below.

The “mobile wallet” generation is upon us. Ready?

Source: Reuters