How To Use Mobile Payments in Canada

By Srikanth
7 Min Read
Trends In Mobile Payments

Mobile payments are exactly what they claim to be – they involve using your smartphone or tablet to make transactions rather than using physical cash or cards. In Canada, mobile payments have continued to get ever more popular, thanks to how quick, convenient and easy they are. Not only can you use them to pay for things online – whether it’s your online shopping or playing at your preferred pay-by-mobile gaming sites, but you can also use your mobile in person to pay in real, physical shops and outlets.


Understanding the apps that facilitate these payments and their user experience can help you decide which is the right way to pay for you… so let’s take a look at some of the different options available to Canadian players.

What Exactly Is a Mobile Payment

A mobile payment basically involves using an application on your smartphone or tablet, which uses stored information on your device to make a purchase – meaning you don’t have to rely on conventional payment methods like cash or physical debit/credit cards. 

The Types of Mobile Payments and How They Work

Essentially, there are several different options – and how they work will depend on what type of payment you choose and which app you decide to go for:

Banking, Payment and eCommerce Mobile Apps

Most Canadian banks offer downloadable apps for smartphones or tablets, so you’ll be able to conduct your banking activities remotely. These apps will generally allow you to make money transfers – such as Interac e-transfers to any recipient’s email address.

Beyond the more traditional banks, non-bank mobile payment apps like Wise and PayPal also allow you to make money transfers.

Then we have eCommerce apps – for instance, apps like Uber and Starbucks even let you order services and pay using a linked credit card information directly within the app.

How They Work

When using a banking, payment, or e-commerce app, you start by downloading the app and inputting your bank account details. After you have verified your information, sign in to your account as you would on a computer for online banking or PayPal access.

Mobile banking has all different functionalities – cheque deposits, money transfers and more. Sending money via your phone basically follows similar steps to online banking but can vary based on your specific app or bank. However, normally, an email address is enough to initiate an e-transfer.

Digital eWallets

Digital wallets work by enabling in-person payments at actual physical stores. To begin, you need to download the mobile wallet app and enter your credit, debit, loyalty, and gift card details.

When making a purchase, you just need to hold your mobile device near a contactless terminal – and it’s just like making a credit card transaction. This relies on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which allows devices to communicate when close together. Your e-wallet will then use this technology to transmit your payment card information to the merchant’s terminal.

How They Work

Digital wallets essentially store payment details from all your credit and debit cards on your mobile device. They mirror physical payment cards and work in the same way by offering contactless payments. Popular wallet apps like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay are the most common examples of this technology.

However, it’s important to distinguish digital wallets from mobile banking or payment apps. While mobile banking apps allow you to make virtual money transfers, digital wallets work more like physical card transactions and allow you to make purchases at physical stores. 

Here are some of the most popular mobile payment options available in Canada right now: 

Apple Pay

Apple Pay, available in Canada, is a secure and convenient way to make payments using your Apple device. It links your credit or debit cards to your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac, allowing quick, contactless transactions at stores, online, or within an app. Using NFC technology it makes sure your transactions are encrypted and private, making it a hugely popular choice if you’re after a secure payment experience. 

Google Pay

Similarly, we have Google Pay, which serves as a convenient mobile payment solution for Android users. Just like Apple Pay, it enables quick and secure transactions by linking credit and debit cards to Android smartphones or wearable devices. Again, Google Pay prioritizes security, using tokenization to safeguard your card information, making it another popular and secure way to pay. 


PayPal is a widely used digital payment platform that allows you to link your bank accounts and credit or debit cards to your PayPal accounts to make secure and convenient online transactions. Famous for its buyer protection policies and how easy it is to use, PayPal lets you send and receive money anywhere in the world, making it an efficient and trusted choice for consumers in Canada and worldwide. 

Online Banking Apps

Online banking apps give Canadians convenient access to their bank accounts on their smartphones and tablets. These apps, offered by practically all banks, allow you to perform all different banking activities – including checking account balances, transferring funds between accounts, paying bills, depositing cheques by taking photos – and simply managing your finances securely. They offer a user-friendly interface and let you conduct your banking tasks conveniently from anywhere, making it easy and hassle-free.

So, whether you are purchasing online or in-person, it has never been easier, quicker or more convenient for Canadians, thanks to the ever-growing popularity of mobile payment solutions.

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