Rogers and CIBC Bring NFC Enabled Payments to Smartphones

Not long ago, the future of mobile payments was chip-based; it was a secure, intuitive way to pay, without worrying that someone could copy your information from the magnetic stripe. It was a great, secure and, most of all, understandable way to pay – consumers loved it, banks loved it, boom. There is one little tidbit that is not being mentioned, though: the implementation. 

It has taken Canada almost 10 years to fully integrate chip-based payments (debit/credit card) into retail environments (some outlets to this day still swipe). Technology implementation on a large scale takes years to properly develop and implement.  So while NFC, in all its wireless glory, is a great concept, I doubt it will be fully market-ready for Canada by Q4.

Then again, I have been wrong before.

This brings us into the topic of this week’s post: Rogers and CIBC’s joint announcement of NFC-enabled payments coming to retail kiosks in Canada using NFC-capable BlackBerrys.

CIBC Senior Executive Vice-President David Williamson was quoted saying: 

“Over 5% of Canadians have engaged in some form of smartphone-based mobile banking, and the bank was the first to launch a mobile app, a mobile trading app and, most recently, an iPad app. Rogers is touting over 250,000 NFC-capable devices on the market and is expecting to power up to 750,000 by the end of the year.”

The idea is very straightforward. The user launches a special CIBC app on their NFC-capable BlackBerry smartphone, and thus enables their device to make low-cost payments with connected MasterCard or Visa cards. As for the security? It comes from a secure Rogers SIM card that will start arriving in new phones in the coming months or, for existing users, by swapping out their existing SIM cards for the “secure” version.

Ok, so you’re sold. But, the next question remains: “Will my device work?” Supported in-market devices include the BlackBerry Bold 9900, 9790 and Curve 9360.  Android and iOS are “in the works,” but no timelines were given. 

From one perspective, I totally respect and appreciate what CIBC is trying to do here, bringing Canadians the future of mobile payments ahead of the crowd. On the other hand, however, I worry about the speed of adoption based on both the costs associated in implementing and in-market devices – not everyone has NFC-enabled devices and may not be willing to shell out for a new device based on this one new feature alone.  I guess only time will really tell, as six months is an eternity in the world of technology.

What are your thoughts on NFC-based payments? Excited? Nervous? Weigh in below.

[info sourced from MobileSyrup]