Mobile Payments Struggle to Gain Traction in Canada

– Mobile payments at Starbucks dominates mobile payments in Canada –

(Oakville, Ontario – November 14, 2017) — One in six adult Canadian smart phone owners have made an in-store payment using their mobile phones in the past six months, according to a new survey published by Technology Strategies International Inc. The majority of in-store mobile payments are made at coffee shops, the study finds, with the Starbucks mobile payment app installed on 11.2% of smart phones, compared with 6.6% for Apple Pay and 2.6% of Android Pay.   

While the incidence of payment app installations on smart phones has increased over the past year, the number of in-store mobile payment users has not.

“Mobile payments hold a lot of promise,” says Christie Christelis, President of Technology Strategies International. “but the offerings to consumers have not evolved to the point where mobile payments are easy to embrace.”

The report notes that about 68% of adult Canadians have smart phones, but there is a great deal of uncertainty amongst consumers as to whether their smart phones are capable of in-store mobile payments. Only 39% of of smart phone owners know for certain whether their smart phones are equipped with an NFC chip set or not.

While some consumers perceive the benefits and convenience of mobile payments, there also are numerous concerns about payments security. Many more people believe that mobile payments are not secure than those who believe they are secure, according to the survey. A number of respondents noted their optimism about the future of mobile payments, believing that it will become much more secure as the technology advances. Others flatly rejected the idea of using their mobile phones for payments primarily because of their security concerns.

“It is clear that smart phone owners are not averse to using their mobile devices for financial transactions,” Christelis says. “since mobile banking and remote (online) payments are becoming routine.”

The fact that consumers are happy to use their mobile phones for mobile banking is important, since it is the first step in building trust and changing consumer behaviour, Christelis says. But he goes on to say that that mobile payments are not yet ready for prime time, and although growing fairly rapidly, they have yet to make an impact on the consumer payments market in Canada. 

The findings of The Canadian Consumer Payments Survey, 2017, are based on online interviews with more than 2,000 adult Canadians from across Canada.

The Canadian Consumer Payments Survey, 2017, includes a 100-page analytical report covering consumer payment preferences and behaviour for bank and branch visits, cash, cheques, debit cards (scheme and Interac), credit cards, contactless payments, mobile payments, online purchases and payments, online bill payments, preauthorized payments, prepaid cards, gift cards, P2P payments, international remittances and virtual currencies. Subscribers also get access to the full set of five data tables.

About Technology Strategies International Inc.

Technology Strategies International Inc. is a leading Canadian technology market research firm based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Established in 1997, the company has been tracking developments in Canadian payment industry for the past twenty years.  The Canadian Payments Insights series of reports can be found at For more information on TSI, please see  

Media Contact Information:

For interviews please contact:
Christie Christelis, 
Technology Strategies International Inc.

Tel: +1 416 628 0796


Back to the top