Mobile Payment: Rogers, CIBC Launch Canada's First System For Paying By Smartphone

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Canadian Olympic triathlete Simon Whitfield uses a mobile payment app to pay for a coffee at Tim Hortons, as David Robinson from Rogers (right) and David Williamson from CIBC (centre) look on, Nov. 2, 2012. (Photo: Rogers/CIBC)
Canadian Olympic triathlete Simon Whitfield uses a mobile payment app to pay for a coffee at Tim Hortons, as David Robinson from Rogers (right) and David Williamson from CIBC (centre) look on, Nov. 2, 2012. (Photo: Rogers/CIBC)

Welcome to the era of paying for stuff with your phone.

CIBC and telecom giant Rogers announced Friday they had made the country’s first mobile payment purchase — a coffee bought at Tim Hortons by Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield.

The Canadian triathlete was on hand at a Rogers-CIBC promotional event in Toronto to launch CIBC Mobile Payment, the country’s first foray into paying by smartphone.

For the time being, the app will be available only to Rogers customers who have a BlackBerry Bold 9900 or a BlackBerry Curve 9360 — as well as a Visa or MasterCard issued by CIBC.

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Phones using the system will need a SIM card that’s enabled to use Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. Rogers is selling NFC-enabled SIM cards online as of this week.

The company says the mobile payment app will be extended to more phones in 2013, including Android devices and Windows Phone 8. The company did not say when and if the app would be available for the iPhone.

The payment solution goes live on November 16.

Clients will be able to pay with their CIBC credit card, whether Visa or MasterCard, without retrieving the plastic card from their wallet or purse. They can simply hold their … smartphone up to a contactless payment terminal and the payment will be automatically charged to their CIBC credit card,” the companies said in a joint press release.

Rogers is making a big push to place itself at the forefront of the coming mobile payment revolution. Even though it has partnered with CIBC, the telecommunications and media giant has also licenced itself as a bank, with an eye towards offering its own credit cards “should this make sense at a future date.”

Besides becoming a conduit for digital payment, Rogers is also making plans to use its communications expertise to develop new lines of business. CEO Nadir Mohamed recently said he expects the company to make money off wirelessly connected hydro and parking meters, medical equipment and other devices.

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