The good news: Apple Pay will be available to Canadian users by the end of November. The bad news: It will only be available to those users who use American Express. If you hold a VISA or MasterCard with The Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada or TD Canada Trust then, for the foreseeable future, you’re out of luck.
According to The Globe and Mail negotiations between Apple and Canadian banks have been going so badly that Apple has decided to push ahead with AMEX as its sole launch partner. From what I’ve been following about tap-and-pay solutions in this country, that sounds about right.
Here’s the quote:
Sources familiar with the negotiations say the most pointed standoff was between Apple and credit-card companies.
Rather than allowing negotiations with multiple parties to drag on, Apple decided to partner solely with American Express Co., which will help the company stick to its rumoured timeline of a November rollout in Canada.
It’s certainly not an ideal solution for Canadians; The Globe pegs AMEX cardholders in this country at about 4 million, compared to more than 70 million cards in circulation for VISA and MasterCard combined. Consider also the number of merchants who accept AMEX—or rather, those who don’t—and you’re left with something that looks less like a “launch” and more like an “experiment”.
Apparently our Big Six Banks are taking their lead from Britain, where Banks were able to negotiate a much lower fee than the 0.15% per payment that American banks hand over to Apple.