Blackberrys in Canada Soon to Double as Credit Cards

Canadians may soon be able to pay for purchases with a quick tap of their smartphones after a major bank and the country’s largest wireless carrier struck a deal to embed credit card information on handsets equipped with a chip to transmit data.

  • Rogers Telecommunications, Canada Imperial Bank of Commerce agree on “mobile wallet”
  • BlackBerry devices to be first, others to follow
  • Canada’s retailers equipped for payment system
  • Sales of devices equipped for system set to grow
  • Mobile payments expected to boom in Canada

Rogers Communications Inc and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce later this year will launch a mobile wallet on some BlackBerry models from RIM Ltd. Devices from other handset makers are expected to follow.

The tool allows shoppers to pay by simply tapping their phone on a special electronic reader already installed at many Canadian retailers. Transactions will credit a CIBC customer’s existing loyalty program.

“It will no doubt change the way Canadians pay for purchases,” said David Williamson, head of retail banking at CIBC, the country’s fifth largest bank, which expects to add debit cards to the service at a later date.

Other big Canadian banks and telecoms are expected to follow the lead of CIBC and Rogers in the coming months. The Roger-CIBC deal was announced the day after Canada’s banking industry published a set of guidelines to support open standards for mobile wallets.

Many Canadian retailers are already using the readers. Found mostly in fast food outlets, gasoline stations, grocery and convenience stores and coffee shops, they work with existing credit and debit cards that emit similar signals.


Rogers had 9.3 million wireless customers at the end of March, but only about 300,000 currently use phones equipped with near field communications chips that enable the phone to communicate securely with the reader.

RIM has put NFC chips in most of its latest BlackBerry 7 phones, and plans to install them in all of its next-generation BlackBerry 10′s, due later this year.