News & Resources

New Interac TSP to Improve Tap Payment Security

Feb. 23, 2016
3 mins
A person taps their credit card on a point of sale terminal

For the last couple of years now the mobile wallet has been a hot topic in the financial services industry. Canadians have been intrigued by the idea of making payments with their mobile devices, but we’ve been slow to adopt this new technology.

To be fair, the technology still isn’t widespread, but the recently announced Interac Token Service Provider (TSP) will improve compatibility since financial institutions, merchants and Interac partners will be able to build a secure digital payment experience. This means that more Canadians will be able to make Interac purchases by tapping their smartphones.

How Will Interac TSP Help Canadians?

Despite the rise in credit card use, Interac still remains the most used payment brand with over 5 billion processed transactions made by Canadians last year. As technology changes, companies are looking to improve the customer service experience.

“The Interac TSP sets the foundation for digital debit payments in Canada ensuring consumers will continue to have the choice of paying with Interac products on any mobile device or wallet that supports it.” says Teri Murphy, Director, Corporate Communications at Interac.

Merchants will also benefit from consumers who decide to pay by Interac when using their mobile wallets. Compared to credit card providers, Interac charges merchants a much lower fee to process transactions; this can be a huge difference for small business owners.

“As the payments market evolves, we want to ensure that when Canadians want to make a payment they can choose Interac, as they do today.” says Murphy.

Is the Mobile Wallet Secure?

Security concerns are a big reason why Canadians have been hesitant to adopt the mobile wallet. Many of us don’t even feel comfortable tapping out debit cards; surely our mobile devices are vulnerable to hackers and thieves right?

The introduction of the Interac token service provider actually makes payments safer. During the transaction process, the consumer’s financial information is swapped with a “token” which is a unique randomly generated sequence of numbers. This number is meaningless to thieves since your financial information is never stored which reduces theft and fraud.

“Regardless of what Interac product they use, consumers receive the same protections” says Murphy. “EMV technology, transaction limits, passcode verification and zero customer liability.”

Getting Set Up

Since the tokenization was just formally announced, Interac is actively working to bring this new payment solution to the market. Once it’s available, getting it set up on your mobile device is a pretty straight forward process.

All transactions are processed in real-time which is great for merchants since chargebacks never occur; it also helps consumers since you can only spend money that you currently have available in your account.

Will you use tap debit to pay for your purchases? Tell us in a comment.

Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at He has been quoted by media in Canada and the United States including The Financial Post, The Toronto Star, Business Insider, The Globe and Mail, and has appeared on HuffPost Live.

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