VentureBeat has declared that 2011 is year that mobile payments go mainstream. Unfortunately they weren't talking about Canada since we don't have the technology built into our phones yet. But the Bank of Montreal is trying to change that.
Canada was an early adopter for a number of important technologies like debit cards, Facebook the Internet in general. Unfortunately it's lagging behind when it comes to mobile payments, which we predict will one day surpass plastic credit card usage. This is not due to a a rejection from the people of Canada, who are comfortable with technology and have confidence in our banks.
Here's the scoop. On the American side of the border, Google is releasing an NFC compliant technology in their phones. “Near field communication” is similar to BlueTooth technology in the way it allows two electronic devices to communicate wirelessly at close range. You know it under the brand name “PayPass”, on credit cards you've already used at Tim Horton's and Loblaws. But unfortunately they won't be releasing it in Canada for another 2 years! Thankfully the bank of Montreal is stepping up to fill the gap.
They have released their “Mobile PayPass Tag”, a piece of tech that allows their credit card user to buy stuff using a sticker on their mobile phone that contains a microchip. So early adopters from Montreal and across Canada can get on board with something that will almost certainely become the norm before the end of the decade. With over 300,000 locations around the world, including many in Canada, this little accessory doesn't just look cool – it's handy too.
Some people have expressed concerns with security, but don't fret. This is not more at risk than any card that you have in your wallet – and a lot more fun!