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Contactless Debit Cards

Contactless Debit Cards - Contactless debit cards will make their formal debut in Canada next year with the launch of Interac Flash from Acxsys Corp.’s Interac Association, Canada’s national debit network. Interac’s first two Flash issuers are Scotiabank and RBC Royal Bank, which will roll out their first contactless cards next summer. The first acquirer is TD Merchant Services, a unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank. More issuers and acquirers are on the way, an Interac spokesperson tells Digital Transactions News, though no announcements have been made yet.

Interac and the banks tested Flash this summer at some high-volume, small-ticket merchants in downtown Toronto. The spokesperson expects national merchants will be making formal announcements about acceptance. “There’s a lot of excitement in the merchant community,” she says. “Merchants are looking for that faster throughput.”

In a statement, the Retail Council of Canada endorsed the new card. “Interac Flash is a welcome and needed addition to the Canadian retail marketplace,” said Diane J. Brisebois, the trade group’s president and chief executive. “Merchants will now be able to provide customers with a faster and more convenient checkout experience while reducing the costs of handling cash.”

The Interac spokesperson adds that consumers, too, have been signaling that they want to use debit cards as substitutes for cash in small transactions at convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and transit. Interac estimates Canadians annually make $90 billion in cash payments for purchases under $20.

For most small transactions, cardholders won’t be required to enter their debit card PIN as they usually do. But to control risk, Interac has its own measures that include dollar maximums ranging from $25 to $100 spread over a number of transactions, after which the cardholder would be prompted to enter his or her PIN. Each issuer can add its own limits on transaction and dollar volumes and other fraud-control measures.

Contactless Debit Cards


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