Apple Pay now available to customers of all five major banks

Click to play video: 'Apple Pay to be offered by Big 5 banks in Canada'
Apple Pay to be offered by Big 5 banks in Canada
Apple Pay to be offered by Big 5 banks in Canada. Nicole Bogart reports – May 10, 2016

Canadians will soon notice a lot more people paying for things with their iPhone, now that Apple Pay has rolled out to cardholders at all five major Canadian banks.

Starting Wednesday, Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) cardholders will be able to add their debit and credit cards to their digital wallet to pay for things using their iPhone or Apple Watch.

CIBC and RBC launched the mobile payment technology in May, alongside Canadian Tire Bank and ATB Financial.

The full rollout marks a significant step for Canada’s adoption of mobile payments.

Canadians have been waiting a long time for Apple Pay. The tech giant first launched the service in the U.S. in October 2014, but Canadians weren’t able to use it until November 2015 – even then the launch was limited to American Express cardholders only.

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Canadian banks – including CIBC, Scotiabank and RBC – have been busy trying to promote their own mobile payments apps.

READ MORE: Canadians prefer to pay with smartphones, credit cards over cash

Ensuring Interac – Canada’s domestic debit network – also works with Apple Pay is a big move for the platform. Without it, the service would have been limited to the credit cards.

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According to Interac, Canadians are among the highest users of debit in the world, using Interac an average of 16 million times daily.

Other bank providers, including President’s Choice Financial and HSBC Canada, have not yet confirmed whether they will launch support for Apple Pay; however, according to the Financial Post, all have issued statements saying they are looking in to the technology.

In a tweet to Global News, Tangerine Bank’s chief technology officer Charaka Kithulegoda confirmed that the bank is working to get Apple Pay up and running for clients by the end of July.

WATCH: How does Apple Pay Work?

Click to play video: 'Apple Pay now available to more in Canada, but hows does it work?'
Apple Pay now available to more in Canada, but hows does it work?

To use Apple Pay you must first input your debit or credit card information into your iPhone using the “Wallet” app.

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Your bank or financial institution will create and transmit a unique device code, which is stored on a secure chip inside your phone. Your actual card number is not stored on the device – one of the key security features of Apple Pay, but we will get to that later.

When you go to make a purchase, you will use the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on your device to authorize your purchase at a payment terminal with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology – also known as the “tap to pay” machine.

You will also need an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running the latest iOS software. Older devices won’t work, even with the latest update.

Is it secure?

Although security measures are never foolproof, Apple’s system does include many robust security features.

One of the biggest things to note is that unique device code that is created when you input your card information. Merchants get that instead of your real card number. A verification code is also created for each transaction, based in part on unique keys on the phone.

Even if hackers get that unique device code, Apple maintains they wouldn’t be able to generate the verification code without having possession of your phone, so fraudulent transactions would be declined.

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READ MORE: Could mobile payments lead you to overspend? How to keep your budget in check

Apple also maintains it knows nothing about your transactions, which are handled directly by the credit card processors.

If you lose your phone, your credit card provider could cancel that unique device code, which means you wouldn’t need to replace the entire card.

— With files from The Associated Press

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