Deloitte calls 2015 the year mobile payments go mainstream

Apple Pay MasterPass

Among his many predictions for 2015, Deloitte’s Duncan Stewart calls 2015 the year the mobile payment finally goes mainstream.

Presenting to a group of wide-eyed industry executives, analysts and media, Duncan presented the 14th annual Canadian Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions (TMT), highlighting or reinforcing trends in the crossover space between tech and everyday lives.

While mobile payments have been threatening to go big for some time, the confluence of some 600 million NFC-capable smartphones, coupled with banks’ willingness to negotiate deals with companies like Apple over Apple Pay, make this year the first Canadians will be more willing to exchange credit card tap-and-pay for smartphone tap-and-pay.

“2015 will be the first year in which all the requirements for mainstream mobile payments — satisfying financial institutions, merchants, consumers and device vendors — have been sufficiently addressed,” said Stewart.

While the mainline infrastructure has been in place across many Canadian merchants for some time, Duncan predicts that it will take until the very end of the year — holiday season, in fact — for a critical mass of consumers to recognize the value of mobile payments, among them added security and convenience.

Less than 0.5% of the 450 million NFC-capable devices in the world were used to make an in-store mobile payment in 2014, but that should increase to 5% of the 600 million this year. Canada’s adoption, according to Stewart, has and will continue to lag behind the United States, owing to the availability of Apple Pay, which isn’t expected to arrive here until mid-year at the earliest. A report last week, however, predicted Apple Pay may come to Canada as early as March. Visa, MasterCard, RBC and even Google have told us that Apple Pay will be great for everyone, as it will elevate the idea of mobile payments beyond a very niche audience.

Canada’s mobile payment landscape is currently littered with problems, from uncooperative merchants to device and platform fragmentation, to banks unwilling to cooperate with one another to allow for a single platform. As a result, carriers like Rogers have had trouble attracting credit card issuers to its Suretap Wallet, and newcomer UGO Wallet only works with TD Canada Trust and PC Financial.