Rogers enters mobile wallet race

First wireless carrier to launch mobile wallet.

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Rogers Communications Inc. said Thursday that it will offer a mobile wallet option on select Android and BlackBerry devices in the coming weeks. The feature will allow users to pay for everyday items with credit simply by tapping their phone against a contactless payment terminal installed at various big retailers across the country.

Rogers customers with compatible devices will be able to download the suretap wallet and add a  virtual Rogers Prepaid MasterCard that can be loaded with funds to use at retailers across Canada. Gift cards for select national retailers will also be available.

“The arrival of our mobile wallet is a major step towards our vision of a mobile experience, where Canadians will quickly and securely access cards they carry in their physical wallet on their smartphone,” said David Robinson, Vice President of Emerging Business at Rogers, in a press release.

The mobile wallet leverages near-field communication (NFC) technology and stores payment card information and passcodes on the secure SIM card. In the near future, additional cards will become available for download including payment cards from multiple banks and payment networks as well as loyalty cards, Rogers said.

“We designed the suretap wallet to deliver a secure mobile payments experience, with an emphasis on the end user and features which enable our customers to take advantage of all the capabilities of today’s smartphones,” said Jeppe Dorff, Vice-President, Transaction Services. “We see this milestone as the first in a series of innovative transactional services we will be offering to our customers in the coming years”.

The race to launch the first truly open mobile wallet in Canada is on. On Wednesday, TD and PC Financial announced they would launch the Ugo mobile wallet in Spring 2014. While the two mobile wallets use similar technology they differ in that Ugo allows users to sync their existing bank credit cards (TD Visa and/or PC MasterCard) while the Rogers wallet links to the Rogers PrePaid MasterCard and/or retail gift cards. Both mobile wallet issuers have vowed to open up their wallets to other payment types in future however.

Canadians are quickly adopting mobile payment technology, with Generation Y leading the way. Approximately one-third of Canadian smartphone owners have made a mobile payment in the past year and the majority believe mobile payments will save them time in their day, according to Rogers commissioned research from Harris Decima. More than half (51%) of NFC-enabled smartphone users stated that they made a mobile payment in the past year.

Rogers Communications is parent company to Rogers Media, publisher of MoneySense and other magazines.

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