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Smart enough to pay the bills

Phone, camera -- wallet Olympian makes 'mobile credit card' payment in Toronto

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Almost half of the Canadians with smartphones would consider using their devices like credit cards to pay for everyday purchases, a poll released Friday suggests.

But 57 per cent said rewards for credit card purchases were important to them in deciding to use mobile payments, the CIBC poll said.

"Canadians are ready to start paying for everyday items using their mobile device, but they want all of the benefits and rewards they've come to expect from their credit card," said David Williamson, CIBC's head of retail and business banking.

CIBC (TSX:CM) and Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B) launched mobile payments in Canada on Friday.

Olympic gold medallist triathlete Simon Whitfield showcased the technology at a Tim Hortons (TSX:THI) outlet in downtown Toronto in what the two companies called the "first point-of-sale mobile credit card transaction in Canada."

"Making the first mobile credit card payment means that we are one step closer to allowing Canadians to store everything they need securely in their smartphone," Williamson said.

The technology relies on a secure SIM card inside a near-field-communication-enabled smartphone. The customer holds the smartphone up to a contactless payment terminal and the amount is charged to their CIBC credit card.

Mobile payments can be made wherever Visa's payWave, MasterCard's PayPass and Interac Flash are accepted, said David Robinson, vice-president of emerging business at Rogers.

The poll, released ahead of Friday's event, found 47 per cent of Canadians with smartphones would consider using them like credit cards.

Initially, only two models of Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) smartphones -- the Bold 9900 and the Curve 9360 -- can be used like credit cards to pay for everyday items up to $50, Rogers said.

But there will be more BlackBerry as well as Android and Windows Phone 8 smartphones that will make mobile payments, Robinson said.

Consumers will simply substitute their smartphones for their credit cards, Robinson said.

"People have embraced MP3 players on phones, video cameras on phones. My wallet is now in my phone. Weird now, but three years from now it will be normal," he said.

"It's going to be very merchant-friendly, very consumer-friendly."

The CIBC poll also found 36 per cent of those surveyed have used their smartphones for mobile banking, up from 25 per cent in 2011.

Smartphone use in Canada has also risen, with 44 per cent of Canadians surveyed owning a smartphone, up from 33 per cent in a similar poll conducted for CIBC in 2011.

Of those surveyed, 29 per cent said they can see their smartphones replacing their wallets or personal computers in the next few years.

Younger and older generations were interested in using smartphones to make mobile payments, with 51 per cent of those aged 25 to 34 saying they would consider it. In the 45- to 54-year-old group, 48 per cent of those surveyed said the same thing.

Results are based on a CIBC poll conducted by Harris/Decima via telephone from July 12 to 22 with a sample of 889 smartphone users. The survey has a national margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 3, 2012 B12

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