Earlier today the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), in co-operation with all the major financial institutions, announced a new set of guidelines for mobile payments that companies must adhere to. Clearly we’re in the early days of the “mobile wallet” and we’ll certainly be looking forward to understanding how the banks and carriers plan on bringing this future way of life into reality. However, as much as the trend is pointing towards people paying for items via their smartphone or tablet, there’s a group that’s worried of a possible mobile payment “fee grab.”
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) issued a statement today that noted “small business owners will be bracing themselves for the possibility of another fee grab on the part of banks, credit card companies and newer market entrants… the creation of mobile wallets adds the possibility of pushing transactions to the highest possible fee option.”
In a previous post we noted that there might be interest from the Big 3 carriers – Rogers, Bell and TELUS – to charge “a flat annual fee to allow a bank to load a consumer’s financial credentials on the SIM card inside a NFC-enabled smartphone.” Which means that every transaction that potentially occurs from your wireless device (smartphone or tablet) is costing somebody something, possibly bringing in millions of dollars of new revenue for the carriers/banks.
There’s no official word on the fee structure from either a bank or carrier. Dan Kelly, SVP of legislative affairs for the CFIB said “While we are pleased that the industry is actively reaching out to small business and welcome the new guidelines for mobile payments, we remain worried that another fee-palooza will soon hit merchants.”
It should be also known that the government is setting up a committee to oversea the mobile payment space. Mary Ann Dewey-Plante, spokesperson for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, stated that “In the near future, we will announce a special advisory committee made up of representatives of the public and private sector to meet regularly with the government to discuss emerging payments system issues.”
Get your NFC devices ready, the onslaught mobile payment announcements is upon us… finally.
Update: Well that was fast. Canadian Bankers Association spokesperson Robin Walsh has gone on record and stated that “In terms of charges, there will be no additional fees to consumers and merchants.”