While in theory Apple brought its critically acclaimed digital wallet service to British and Canadian shores last year, it’s only in the past month or so that iOS-enabled mobile payments became widely available in the two countries.

Shortly after picking up Barclays UK approval, Apple Pay today finally spreads its wings to MasterCard and VISA credit and debit cards from Royal Bank of Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Previously, American Express was the sole brand supported, and before long, three other major financial institutions will join the party, wrapping up the local “big five.” Unfortunately, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Toronto-Dominion Bank aren’t ready to share their own release dates just yet, leaving a few smaller rivals, including ATB Financial and Canadian Tire Financial Services, to complete this highly anticipated first wave of proper launches.

“We’ve been very clear that we will provide solutions that our clients want, but it’s been very important to consumer and merchant clients that both debit and credit be supported.” said Linda Mantia, Royal Bank of Canada’s executive VP of digital, payments and cards on the eve of the rollout, hinting at the reasons for the delay.

“Whether it is Apple Pay, suretap or CIBC’s mobile wallet app, our job is to provide clients with safe, easy choices and this is another one.” also confessed the senior vice president of innovation for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, emphasizing it’s not all about Apple Pay in the fast-growing on-the-go transaction industry.

In fact, the “big five” banks up north strongly considered rejecting Apple Pay for proprietary counterparts, but ultimately reached a mutually beneficial deal, recognizing Cupertino’s prominent brand awareness and not being willing to risk losing customers.

Source: Financial Post

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