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Canada's Big 5 sign up for Apple Pay

Apple Pay is becoming much more useful in Canada, as the mobile payment system welcomes the partnership of all five major banks.

The mobile payment system allows customers to upload credit and debit card information to their smartphones and use it at stores and restaurants to make purchases of up to $100.

Royal Bank and CIBC customers, as well as holders of Canadian Tire Bank and ATB Financial MasterCards, were able to use Apple Pay as of Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

TD Bank says it will be making the service available for Interac and Visa cards in the coming weeks. The Bank of Montreal and Scotiabank have indicated they will roll out Apple Pay in the coming months.

The system launched in the U.S. in 2014 and in Canada late last year, but hasn't had much pickup because the big banks had been reluctant to sign up. Apple Pay used to only work with non-bank American Express cards, which are rare in Canada.

The company took that tack specifically because Amex is both the card issuer and payment processor, and thus easier to co-ordinate. Visa and MasterCard typically offer cards tied to financial institutions.

Apple Pay is available with the various iPhone 6 iterations and iPhone SE in compatible apps and stores. Apple Watch (paired with iPhone 5 or later) works in stores, and four different iPads (Pro, Air 2, mini 4, mini 3) work in apps only.

At Alternative Banking Solutions, twenty-five percent (25%) of our transactions are through contactless cards or devices — a number that has doubled year over year.

London Drugs, Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Petro-Canada, and Pizza Hut are among the stores ready for Apple Pay.

Among the places where Apple Pay is "coming soon" include Air Canada, Pizza Pizza and the Toronto Transit Commission.

Apps that accept Apple Pay include Delta, Groupon, Kickstarter, Ticketmaster and Starbucks.

Businesses that accept Apple Pay can also receive added visibility on Apple's map app.

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