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Wait and see approach for Fintechs as Payments Canada chooses Interac as Canada’s real-time payments provider

Betakit | | March 2, 2021

payments and transfers - Wait and see approach for Fintechs as Payments Canada chooses Interac as Canada’s real-time payments provider

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Payments Canada has selected its second solution provider for the country’s upcoming real-time payments system.   Interac Corp. has been selected as the exchange solution provider for the Real-Time Rail (RTR). Expected to launch in 2022, RTR consists of two components: a clearing and settlement component and an exchange component. Mastercard-owned Vocalink was selected last year to operate the settlement component.

A real-time payment system designed to modernize Canada’s core payments infrastructure, RTR will allow for payments to be sent and received within seconds. The system will be operated by Payments Canada and regulated by the Bank of Canada. The idea behind RTR is to create a payment system that is fast, secure, and flexible, to allow for innovation.

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Interac might be considered a natural choice for Payments Canada to work with when it comes to building the exchange. Interac is set to use the already-existing technology behind its Interac e-Transfer service to build the exchange component of Canada’s RTR. Interac e-Transfer is currently used by millions of Canadians daily and connects to almost 300 financial institutions in the country.

“The Real-Time Rail will be the foundation for faster, data-rich payments and act as a platform for innovation,” said Black. “Participants in the payment system will be able to connect and develop new and exciting ways for Canadians to pay for goods and services, transfer money and better compete nationally and internationally.”

While Canada has been working to modernize its payments infrastructure in recent years, the country has long lagged behind other similar markets when it comes to payments innovation; more than 54 other countries around the world already use a similar type of RTR system. The RTR project began in 2015 with consultations involving more than 100 organizations within the payments ecosystem.

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Among those organizations are Canadian FinTech startups, who have faced many barriers trying to bring competitive products to market, including receiving banking licenses and pulling customers away from the Big Banks.

How the choice to work with Interac will affect Canadian FinTechs is unclear. Currently, FinTech startups cannot directly access e-transfer rails, which is the peer-to-peer (P2P) method in Canada. Historically, Interac’s system has been more easily accessible for traditional incumbents like the Big Five banks.

A member of the Canadian FinTech community told BetaKit that

if Interac chooses to adopt a fair policy and payments framework that includes FinTechs instead of upholding the status quo, it could be a positive step for startups. “If Interac opens up, it could work, but their track record is not encouraging,” the source said.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Wait and see approach for Fintechs as Payments Canada chooses Interac as Canada’s real-time payments provider The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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