3 Ways Ontario, Canada Is Leading the Charge in Mobile Payments

MasterCard ranked Canada as the second most prepared country in the world for widespread mobile payments adoption. Here are some of the reasons why.
September 27, 2013


IT Talent Where It's Needed

Ontario is a hub for all of the industries that are needed to push mobile payments in Canada. All five of the major banks are headquartered in Ontario, as are two of the country's biggest telco providers. A number of major IT players like Intel, Microsoft and Oracle also have their Canadian research and development facilities or national headquarters in the region. And all of these companies have access to an impressive well of IT talent coming out of the universities in the region. Toronto and Waterloo, Ontario are home to several research and educational institutions that provide the talent needed for innovation in the mobile payments sector.

Along the tour I visited the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University, a Toronto-based public research university. The Digital Media Zone is an incubator for graduates that aspire to be entrepreneurs, and several of the startups in incubation there are targeting mobile payments. One startup, called OnTab, allows merchants to accept various types of mobile payments, including NFC, QR codes, SMS and short codes, with a software upgrade, saving them the cost of a new terminal, said Behzad Malek, the company's founder.

"Over the last 6 months we're looking at financial services as a bigger focus. We see a lot of opportunities for disruption there," Valerie Fox, the Digital Media Zone's executive director, noted.

[To learn more about new opportunities in mobility in financial services, check out the agenda for the New Opportunities for Mobility: A Financial CIO/CTO Roundtablesession at the upcoming Interop event in NYC.]

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Ryerson University's Digital Media Zone is incubating several mobile payments startups in Toronto. Photo courtesy of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment.

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