The race to own the first up-and-running cell phone mobile payment network continues, with Visa, Rogers, and the Royal Bank of Canada teaming up for their first pilot.
They will be going against the trio of Mastercard, Citibank, and Bell , who are in the midst of their own, competing trials.
Near-field communication chips will be installed on pre-production Motorola Sliver phones and distributed to up to around 500 people, said David Robinson, vice-president of new business planning with Rogers Wireless. It was important that GSM-compatible phones be used, he said, to ensure that it fall in line with global standards, which will help take the program wider eventually. Said Robinson: “When it comes to payments, international brands and standards are critical.”
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The people themselves will be RBC Visa payWave cardholders and Rogers Wireless customers chosen based on geographic locale, as the pilot will take place in downtown Toronto with as-yet-unnamed quick-service merchants.
Both mobile payment partnerships were often shrouded in secrecy. It turns out that it was a partner that brought RBC and Rogers together was security vendor Gemalto, who works with the Visa Mobile platform, and does both Rogers SIM cards and RBC card personalization.
“This is a very complicated eco-system with people who aren’t typically at the table together, so it’ll be good to have that common ground together,” said Robinson.
“That will be the most interesting part, seeing how they all work together,” said IDC Financial Insights senior analyst Rob Burbach. “They’re all big companies used to having their own way.”
The mobile payments will be tapped against Visa payWave readers, which will be installed over the coming year or so. They will be the same model as those used in the ongoing TD Bank Kitchener-Waterloo area trial of EMV-chip-embedded Visa payWave cards , and will be rolled out soon for the trial, which should ramp up by mid-next-year, said Robinson.