Google Canada says Apple Pay would be “great for everyone”

Apple Pay MasterPass

As 2014 draws to a close, companies are looking at the past year and examining ways in which they can change for the better in 2015. It’s also useful for identifying trends or new technologies that might come into their own over the next 12 months. Ask anyone in tech and they’ll tell you the time is nigh for mobile payments. Except Google Canada, it seems.

Google Canada Managing Director Sam Sebastian spoke to CTV about Google’s plans for mobile in 2015, touching on both mobile advertising and mobile payments. Interestingly, while many experts see 2015 as the year of mobile payments (and wearables, and internet of things …), Sebastian feels that customers aren’t truly excited by the prospect of paying with their phone.

This study from GfK revealed Canadians are concerned about security but also don’t really have a problem paying with their card thanks to Canada’s great ATM and debit card infrastructure. It’s a solution for a problem that doesn’t really exist, according to GfK’s Stephen Popiel. And Sebastien agrees. CTV reports that he expects some growth for Canadian mobile payments, but he doesn’t think it will be a massive trend.

“It’s not, frankly, that hard to pull out a credit card and pay for something. So we have to delight (consumers) in some way beyond what they already do,” he’s quoted as saying. “So is there a way to deliver promotions, discounts, all sorts of other things that actually provide more utility if you use your phone as the wallet?”

Sebastien goes on to say that for a mobile payments solution to really disrupt the market, they need to offer something “new, different and better” thanks to users high expectations and improved experiences for online and offline payments. “[…] they’re not going to change their behaviour unless there’s an incentive to. And again, I think we have to discover what that is.” With Apple Pay believed to be coming to Canada in mid-2015, Sebastien says he welcomes Apple’s foray into the Canadian mobile payments segment.

“I think anyone doing great new things in the market is great for everyone,” he told CTV. “If it makes it better for users and it gives folks more choice and more opportunities and better utility it’s good for Google, it’s good for anyone.”

Without a doubt, the arrival of Apple Pay in Canada can only be good for mobile payments. Though users may be perfectly happy with the status quo, a new service from a big name like Apple will boost the profile of all payment systems and everyone, from retailers and restaurants to credit unions and banks to users corporate IT departments, will start to reexamine the concept of mobile payments. Earlier this year MasterCard Canada predicted that Apple Pay would normalize mobile payments within Canada, and it sounds like Google is hoping for the same.