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Cellphones Technology

Canada Telecoms Launch Mobile Payment Service 107

GregDz11 writes to inform us that Canada's three main wireless companies will be launching a service that allows customers to send, request, and receive money via their mobile phones. "The service, called Zoompass, will be managed by Enstream, a joint venture the three carriers first established in 2005, when it was called Wireless Payment Services, to investigate the potential of mobile commerce. [...] Money can be drawn from an account the user sets up or from their credit card. Each withdrawal will cost 50 cents from the account, or 3.5 per cent of the transaction if from a credit card. (As a result, sending dollar amounts under $15 are actually cheaper to do using a credit card.)"
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Canada Telecoms Launch Mobile Payment Service

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  • by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:15PM (#28340837) Homepage Journal

    some day I'm going to try to explain to my grandkids about how we carried around computers that needed their own bags, that weighed 'pounds!' and they'll laugh at something so absurd.

    • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:17PM (#28340869) Homepage

      As if there needs to be another way to sink (lots of) money into the black hole that are commercial celphones. I'm still trying to figure out how to actually get Telus' "$15/mo unlimted text messages" to actually only cost $15/mo.

      Android/wifi/skype pls hrrythfckup.

      While my guitar gently weeps.

      • by snowraver1 ( 1052510 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:01PM (#28341315)
        I get free voicemail, free caller ID, Free web browsing to partner sites, and 100 text/MMS messages a month free.

        If you call them (*611, free call)and complain that when you start your phone's web browser it goes to their homepage automatically, thus charging you 2 cents, when you really want to get to a 3rd party site. So in effect, a 3rd party site costs 12 cents: 10 for the 3rd party site, plus 2 to view thier homepage. You do not have the ability to change your homepage.

        Ask them to just "block all partner sites". They will tell you that is not possible. Ask them to change your homepage to something else, or just not load anything at all. Agian, they will tell you that is not possible. Tell them that you are "fed up with telus nickel and dimeing you to death and that you *will not hang up until this issue is resolved*. 2 managers later, and I got a nice, permanent, perk.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I was an early cell phone adopter, relatively speaking. I wasn't "early early" but I got one very early in the "push to mass market" phase of the Canadian business...about 1992 or 1993.

          I'm so tired of cell phone companies nickel and diming me, trying to extract every last cent for every single service...roaming rates with Fido were 25 cents/minute which was reasonable. With Rogers? $1/minute. What's changed? Did costs go up with the acquisition? No....just gouging.

          Contracts. They don't even discuss non-cont

      • Android wifi skype?

        Shit son, get yourself a cellphone with Windows mobile and wifi. That shit has been available for ages.

      • by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @09:56AM (#28347037)

        Android/wifi/skype pls hrrythfckup.

        Try Sipdroid on Android. I think you'll find that it solves the problem somewhat nicely. It's not perfect, but then nothing ever is.

    • by chebucto ( 992517 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:21PM (#28340915) Homepage


      http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/z/ [ibm.com]

      Computers have entered new niches over time, but no format has ever gone out of use. Mainframes are still around, as are minicomputers, workstations, desktops, laptops, and subnotebooks. Even smartphones aren't anything terribly new, being just a combination of PDAs and cell phones.

      Rather, I think people will look back at our time and laugh at us for thinking that portable computers with full-sized keyboards would ever fall out of use :)

    • some day I'm going to try to explain to my grandkids about how we carried around computers that needed their own bags, that weighed 'pounds!' and they'll laugh at something so absurd.

      You should tell them about the time when you had to go inside the computer [williamson-labs.com] to repair it.

    • by hey ( 83763 )

      Yes, because "pounds" will be replaced by "kilos".

  • possible early prototype? [japanator.com]

    Oh, I guess not, the limit in the article is only $1,000 not 10 Million Yen...

  • ...what could possibly go wrong?
    • by icebike ( 68054 )


      Lets give thieves yet another reason to hack phones.

      Bad enough when they run up huge bills calling back to the home country, but now they can empty your account at the same time.

      Is the phone company going to offer all the same protections that a credit card company does? Disputed charge resolution? Lost of stolen protection.

      Is there any government over site?

      Why let yet another bunch enter the banking business (because that is what it is) when we can't even properly regulate the clowns running bank

      • I'm glad there's at least one person left on slashdot who isn't too dim to understand what I meant. Most are busy bitching about the price. So I guess that means if it was free, or $.05 per transation, they'd just be happy to use the service. I remember when slashdotters were actually geeks, with geeky understanding of how things work...
  • Overpriced (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bradmont ( 513167 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:22PM (#28340929)

    Why would you pay $.50 to use this when transactions on credit cards and (some) debit cards are free?

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The receiver would pay that amount. This is no different than credit card/interac, who's standard fees are ~2.5% and $0.20 respectively.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MeNeXT ( 200840 )

        Interact is ~$0.05 - $0.08

        Credit cards are 1.65%-1.9% unless you are high risk.

        You need to shop around and negotiate.

        How fast do they pay? What are the charge back fees? Can an item be contested? What are the terminal fees/requirements? .....

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hognoxious ( 631665 )
      [verizon] it's not $0.50, it's 50 cents [/]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xednieht ( 1117791 )
      Agreed... sounds more like a mobile bank-robbing service.

      Cash is King
    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Why would you pay $.50 to use this when transactions on credit cards and (some) debit cards are free?

      I'd like to know what bank/cards you're using, most of the ones in Canada currently have a $1.50 out of bank charge, on top of a month $1.50 interac charge per use for cross-network fees.

      • Wow, you're getting screwed.

        $14/month, unlimited interac transactions, only time I get fees is when I use an out-of-network ATM. It's at the point where I use my debit card for anything and everything, as long as the business takes Interac. Cash is for the one Chinese place near work that only takes cash.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          So are most Canadians. Big shock on that one, I'm a starving student so this kinda makes you aware of how much this stuff costs especially when you're on a student account.

        • by chrish ( 4714 )

          Wow, you're getting screwed.

          $0/month, unlimited Interac transactions, unlimited online banking, etc. I've been using President's Choice Financial for five years or so and they're great (except for loans and money orders, but how often do you do those?).

          I used to work for NCR, so I know how expensive (relatively) it is to process cheques compared to Interac. I'm amazed that people still pay bank fees for web banking and Interac.

      • Re:Overpriced (Score:5, Informative)

        by Chirs ( 87576 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:37PM (#28341711)

        You're getting hosed.

        I use president's choice financial. Interac usage is free, as is the use of any CIBC bank machine (including the little ones in 7-11 stores). There is still a charge to take out cash from bank machines not owned by CIBC.

        • Local banks are where it's at. My local bank covers all atm fees. I can use it anywhere in the world at atms that take Pulse/Star; the only catch is, I have to initially pay for it, but once the transaction clears, they refund the atm fees. Checking is free, unless I go negative, of course. But being able to overdraft in emergencies is useful.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          That's the standard interac transfer fee between banks, or machines not owned by that bank which I was talking about. So I'm not getting hosed. It's Canadians as a whole.

      • I use a Credit Union (I'm Canadian). I don't pay any service fees at all, except when I take money out of another bank's ATM.

        • Yep. VanCity credit union member here. One of the things that appealed was precisely the lack of fees. Coming from South Korea, the fees that banks charge here are highway robbery.

        • I use my local Credit Union as well. They rock. $5/month unlimited everything included(web/atm/interac). Upto $1500 immediate withdrawal after deposit in ATM and $2500 maximum daily withdrawal.

          I used to be with RBC. I used them for 16 years and it wasn't until recent when I tried to buy a new car (vs paying cash previously on used cars) that I ever had any problems. RBC wouldn't even bat it's eyelashes at me when I applied for a loan. I ended up going through Wells Fargo (through the Dealer -- that was my b

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Exactly. And companies wonder why micro-trans won't take off here in the Western World.

      In a digital world there is no reason why it should cost more then $0.01.

    • by Ertman ( 29767 )

      It's cheaper than PayPal. It's cheaper than Interac Email. Heck, it's cheaper than the ATM transaction fees to taking out cash. Too bad it is yet another bank account to manage. It would have been nice if they had buy-in from Interac for this.

    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      Why would you pay $.50 to use this when transactions on credit cards and (some) debit cards are free?

      Because Carlos does not take credit cards and you don't want to go to his street corner carrying cash.

    • Your buddy who you owe $20 for the beer and pizza run does not take Interac or credit cards. That is the target market for this.

  • ...I can get hosed for random charges more conveniently. And pay 50 cents to do so!
    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      swanzilla: I can get hosed for random charges more conveniently. And pay $0.50 to do so!
      Verizon: yes, the fee is 50 dollars per transaction.
      swanzilla: no, $0.50, as in 50 cents
      Verizon: yes, that's what we said.

  • 40 cents too much (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shking ( 125052 ) <babulicmNO@SPAMcuug.ab.ca> on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:27PM (#28340981) Homepage

    If they're hoping to take over a significant share of transactions between private individuals (aka "consumers"), they're in for a rude shock. The service is grossly overpriced. Cash is free and most people get a certain number of free cheques / free withdrawls on their bank plans. Ten cents a transaction *might* be cheap enough

    • by Nikker ( 749551 )
      The main idea of not using cash is for the credit companies to collect the real cash and substitute that for credit. The fewer transactions that are done using paper the more credit will consume your actual money.
    • Paypal is 30 cents, and... 1.5-2.5%. You can't go beyond that before you're just being unrealistic.

      50 cents? 3.5%? Bleh!

    • From the sounds of it you are an American.

      Canadian's don't carry cash. Period. At least not Canadians under 30. This is one area in which the US and Canada are vastly different... cash is now hardly used for any transactions in Canada anymore, at all.

      This service is actually very well priced because it is competing with E Interac email money transfers in Canada (EMT). Most banks charge you $1.50 to send an EMT if it is not covered by your banking plan. 50 cents is much less.

      I can tell you right now, this se

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

        +10 informative about the "most Canadians under 30 don't carry cash" (I'd even say 35 or 40). I'm 37 and I find it odd when I have paper cash in my wallet.

      • I'm Canadian and I carry cash almost everywhere. It is my preferred method of completing financial transactions, because of the fees that banks charge. Although I'm 34, so I guess I'm an oldtimer by your metric.
        And this service is insanely overpriced when you compare it with anywhere that doesn't have government sanctioned monopolies:
        http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_39/b3901068.htm [businessweek.com] (look at the date on that article...).

        • by brunes69 ( 86786 )
          I am sorry to say, but you are rapidly becoming the minority. I don't know of a single acquaintance of mine who ever has more than $20-$40 in their wallet. Everyone pays for everything with debit or credit card. The only time I have used cash in the past 6 months, is to pay a cabbie, and at the bar (where there is still not a quick enough payment option - but soon paypass et. al. will take that market over too I think). Even the cabbie was unusual because I almost always use debit in the cab.
          • by shking ( 125052 )

            You're missing the point. Canadians *BUY* things via debit, and the transaction is FREE because our bank plans cover the debit card transactions. 50 cents is a lot more than free, especially if it's that small transaction we all carry around that $20 for. Secondly, Canadians don't use debit cards to pay each other.... and it's very unlikely that they'll spend 50 cents to RECEIVE a few bucks

      • by mkendall ( 69179 )

        Canadian's don't carry cash. Period. At least not Canadians under 30. This is one area in which the US and Canada are vastly different... cash is now hardly used for any transactions in Canada anymore, at all.

        I think perhaps you are overstating the case. I rarely have less than a couple of hundred dollars in my wallet, and I see people pay with cash in supermarkets and so on probably around one third of the time.

        And if you never pay for anything with cash, how do you accumulate change for parking meters and

        • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

          Where do you live that still has analog parking meters?

          I'm in middle of nowhere NB and nearly all our parking meters are digital now and take debit/CC.

      • Canadian's don't carry cash. Period. At least not Canadians under 30. This is one area in which the US and Canada are vastly different... cash is now hardly used for any transactions in Canada anymore, at all.

        How do they pay for drugs?

      • An American? He said "cheques" for goodness sakes. :P

      • Well, they do when they're buying drugs...

        oh wait, maybe that's just me. >.>
      • "Canadian's don't carry cash. Period. At least not Canadians under 30. This is one area in which the US and Canada are vastly different... cash is now hardly used for any transactions in Canada anymore, at all."

        That's horseshit. Maybe the tiny fragment of the population that you deal with doesn't carry cash, but cash is alive and well from my vantage point. Go into any food court in a shopping mall to see cash in action over many transactions.

        Besides, I can tell you one thing that negates your whole
  • Trust issues... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greed ( 112493 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:32PM (#28341029)

    I'm having trouble thinking of an organization I trust less than Canada's telecoms companies to handle my money.

    Has Bell figured out how to deal with incorrect direct payment transactions? When it happened to me, I had to have my bank block all transactions originated from Bell. Bell couldn't figure out how to identify the account making the bad transactions on their own--they actually needed the "payment refused" bounces from the bank. (They've got check-digits on account numbers now, but can they fix a problem from their end yet?)

    A friend on Roger's discovered his phone had been cloned. The Roger's people thought that there was nothing odd about his phone being used in Toronto and in south Florida at the very same time. (The small claims judge did think that was odd.)

    • "I'm having trouble thinking of an organization I trust less than Canada's telecoms companies to handle my money." You can say that again! I trust the telecoms even less than the Federal Government, and that's saying a lot!
    • In any case, I don't think the cell providers in this "mobile payment service" will be reputable. IMO there's a whole security issue alone without going into talking about the carrier. To me, the problem is I don't see the carrier being held to the same standards and practices as banks. Hasn't happened to me, but get your debit account wiped and you're in for a serious headache trying to get the money back. Think its going to be easy getting your mobile payment service money back if there's an eavesdropper,

      • by greed ( 112493 )

        I'll agree with you there. It's not the choice of steak or s**t for dinner, it's whose s**t you want for dinner. In my case, though, Roger's service doesn't work well in my neighbourhood; it's almost like there's one missing tower in the GTA and I live where it should go.

        It doesn't help that the "competing" cell companies in my area are just re-sellers on Bell's towers. Maybe it's Bell's equipment I don't like? (At least, ever since Roger's borged Fido.)

        I was so hoping Teacher's Pension would buy them a

  • by Bradmont ( 513167 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:32PM (#28341035)


    The venture is the first tentative step toward a true mobile wallet

    My wallet has been mobile for years already...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Time_Ngler ( 564671 )
      Sorry dude. I meant to rate this as funny but I accidentally hit overrated, so this reply will undo what I've done. So please accept this personal review of your comment. It is a quick witted humorous note.
  • Myself I was really under the impression this was available everywhere. Have been developing something to use this for a while now : https://www.tunz.com/ [tunz.com] Operates as a Belgian bank There is more in other EU countries. Maybe should have reported this about two years back, my offence, not an active poster, only a slashdot reader. Many apologies.
    • North America is somewhat backwards in terms of cell phone capabilities and uses. Apparently too many people here see them as something you use to talk to people on.
    • You'll find that regularly, something that's commonplace elsewhere is reported as new on /. when it gets to North America, the United States in particular. Trust me, this is new in Canada.

      Not that I'm going to use this service in any way, shape, or form.

  • Usual 2 problems: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Seth Kriticos ( 1227934 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:49PM (#28341221)
    1. They are too greedy and don't realise that only very few people would use the service at this rates, which effectively ruins the economy of scale calculations.

    2. You can't limit the debt you get, which increases the loss in cases of fraud. This should work like pre paid cards where loss is limited.
  • Free? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How come, when I was in Japan, I could use such a system without any fees? I know, it didn't work exactly the same way but it offered the same advantages and fast payment.

  • So Canada only realizes now that such a service makes sense? No wonder it has slipped from a near the top position in terms of technology penetration to near bottom.

    Companies like Nortel Networks, Corel and others are shells of their former glory!

    Even 3rd world countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and many others have had such a service for years!

    To make matters worse, the service is still riddled with restrictions.

    Canadians...wake up!

    • I fail to see how this service is actually useful, though. We've widespread POS interac terminals. We don't really have a NEED for this. Even for transfers between individuals, this service pales in comparison to other methods.

    • "So Canada only realizes now that such a service makes sense? No wonder it has slipped from a near the top position in terms of technology penetration to near bottom...Canadians...wake up!"

      Oh yeah, let's add yet another way in which you can more easily blow your money. Now you can instantly send your buddy-on-a-beer-run $20 you didn't want to spend for a bottle of liquor you didn't intend to drink, all without leaving the poker table.

      What a great idea. Canadians should totally get behind this initiat
  • The pricing for this is ridiculous...and I don't know if I'd want to trust Telus or Rogers with anyone more than they already have. By itself, I don't think this would work at all, but I'm totally pumped for the future. This just is one step closer to FINALLY getting NFC (near field contact) chips into phones. I can't believe that Japan and Korea have had NFC chips for years, and we've JUST started down the same path...
  • I honestly hate the thought of paying money to spend money - surely it costs less to maintain a bank of computers then it costs to count and sort notes and coins. So many things have fee's for "digital" transactions these days - when in truth you're saving them a fortune (eg: cinema, $1 fee to buy and print your own ticket, 1: You're saving them staff at the counter, 2: You're saving them actual costs of printing the ticket. - and don't start with the "oh credit card fee" or "online processing costs money"

    • by hey ( 83763 )

      I agree. I won't be using this service unless I really have to.

  • Official site (Score:2, Informative)

    by sitkill ( 893183 )
    Lacking from the summary:

    http://www.zoompass.com/ [zoompass.com]
  • by thethibs ( 882667 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @08:39PM (#28342809) Homepage

    Compared to cash:

    • It's not anonymous. Every transaction will be recorded, and if there's a way to analyse and use that information against you, someone will.
    • It's not secure. The transaction data is radiated in all directions.
    • You're liable if your account is hacked.
    • 50 cents for the transaction, 15 cents each for the SMS message at each end = 80 cents per transaction versus nothing for cash.
    • One more thing that doesn't work if your battery is dead or you're out of range.
    • You still have to carry cash to deal with people who aren't part of the program.

    This is as bad an idea (for the consumer, that is) as debit cards.

  • You can already just email your money in Canada. Anyone use this service? http://www.interac.ca/consumers/productsandservices_ol_emt.php [interac.ca]
  • This was already done in Africa, there was even a documentary about it on TV.

    http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=160576 [ghanaweb.com]
    http://whiteafrican.com/2008/09/26/if-it-works-in-africa-it-will-work-anywhere/ [whiteafrican.com]
    http://ghanabusinessnews.com/2009/04/15/electronic-payment-another-use-of-mobile-phone-technology/ [ghanabusinessnews.com]

    If I remember correctly, users just had to set a different service center number (the number that receives the SMS messages) and send a sms with a text like *pin*100 to the phone number t

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