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According to various reports, Apple plans to launch Apple Pay, a service that allows users to seamlessly make payments via their iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, sometime this fall. Here’s what early adopters need to know.

Phoning It In

Apple Pay launched in the U.S. last October. It enables users to make payments directly from their Apple devices at retailers equipped with “near-field communications” (NFC) contactless point-of-sale transaction machines. Once registered with an enabled device, to make payment users simply hold their finger over the fingerprint sensor. If your phone is lost or stolen, you can remotely disable the service via Apple’s Find My iPhone application.

Banks Balking at Apple Pay Canada

Canada is a logical place for Apple to start taking the system global: according to the Canadian Bankers Association, more than half of us do the majority of our banking online and, by 2011, 31% of Canucks had used mobile banking (a number that has surely gone up).

But, more relevant to a rollout is that about one-third of all Canadian smartphones are iPhones and, by the end of the year, virtually all credit card readers will be equipped with the NFC contactless payment system required to work with Apple Pay.

And the banks are already on board with other Apple products. CIBC was the first Canadian bank to announce on April 23, 2015 that it has developed a mobile banking app for the Apple Watch, followed by a similar announcement from Scotiabank that same day.

That said, the rollout has been complicated by Canadian regulatory requirements, and the need to negotiate terms with each of the banks that would offer the system. The big Canadian banks are said to be balking at the cut of fees that Apple takes from each transaction. In the U.S., it’s reportedly 15 basis points per credit card transaction and half-a-cent per debit transaction. In Canada, those rates may be higher.

The Canadian institutions are also reportedly pressing for an additional layer of security, such as the requirement to enter a pin in the wake of widespread fraudulent charges following the U.S. rollout.

Using Apple Pay Cross-Border

Can’t wait until fall to use Apple Pay? The good news is, it is actually possible to use Apple Pay in Canada now, provided you have a credit card from a U.S. bank. Check out this helpful clip to see how.

Will you use Apple Pay for your purchases once it's available in Canada?

Allan Britnell

Toronto-based freelancer Allan Britnell is an award-winning writer with nearly 20 years’ experience. He covers a diverse range of topics, including DIY and professional home renovation projects, nature and the environment, small business, personal finance, and family and health issues. He is also the managing editor of Renovation Contractor, the publication written for small- and medium-sized contracting and custom home building companies. He lives in Toronto with his wife, two daughters, and their dog, Oscar.

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