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Interac debuts NFC debit card payments in Canada

RBC Royal Bank and Scotiabank both plan to make the new mobile payments service available to their customers later this year — and RBC has announced it will now make all Interac Flash contactless payments available free of charge to its account holders.

First Interac Flash transaction
FLASH: Interac’s Mark O’Connell, RBC’s Dave McKay and McDonald’s CFO Dave Hederson pay with NFC

The first NFC mobile debit card transaction in Canada has been completed at a McDonald’s restaurant in the Toronto area, using a Blackberry Bold 9900 and debit network Interac’s mobile Interac Flash system. A nationwide rollout is planned for later this year.

RBC Royal Bank, which partnered with Interac for the debut, says it will provide customers with the ability to make mobile Interac Flash payments when the service comes to market later in 2013. Scotiabank says it also intends to introduce the system.

RBC has also announced it will make all Interac Flash transactions free for personal banking account holders.

“This free mobile debit option will benefit both our clients and our merchants,” says Dave McKay, RBC’s group head of personal and commercial banking. RBC clients will be able to use their mobile devices to make debit payments when and where they wish to make them – and then to immediately check their online bank balance from those same devices.”

For the Toronto debut, the Interac Flash app was stored on a secure element embedded in a BlackBerry Bold 9900 NFC phone. The system also works with SIM-based secure elements, Interac has told NFC World.

“Interac supports both methods of storing bank details,” the network says. “The user’s debit card details, therefore, could be stored in the secure element on the phone or in the secure element in an NFC SIM.”

“This achievement in mobile debit innovation helps solidify our role in the mobile payments space in Canada,” says Mark O’Connell, president and CEO of Interac Association.

“Soon, Canadians will be able to use their mobile phones to pay with Interac Flash quickly, conveniently and securely when making everyday purchases – bringing added value not only to consumers, but also to the merchant community and our partner financial institutions.”

“We’re pleased to offer our customers new and convenient payment options like mobile Interac Flash,” adds Dave Hederson, senior vice president and CFO of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada.

“As our customers’ purchasing needs and preferences continue to evolve, we are committed to providing them with relevant ways to interact with us as their favourite place to eat and drink.”

CIBC bank and mobile network operator Rogers launched an NFC service in Canada in 2012. That service is available to CIBC credit card holders.

The new Interac service is the result of a partnership between Interac, RBC Royal Bank, McDonald’s Canada, BlackBerry and payment processor Moneris Solutions.

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