The Canadian Open Banking Expo stage with six empty seats

The Great Canadian Payments Roadshow



, ,

This spring has been a whirlwind for Toronto’s bustling fintech conference season. As a recognized expert in the Canadian Payments market, The Fletcher Group participated (as organizers, media sponsors, onstage presenters and attendees) in several top-tier fintech and payments events this spring. We engaged in meaningful and insightful discussions with industry peers across the financial ecosystem, took notes on emerging trends and shared our own thought leadership. TFG thought leaders participated in or attended the following Canadian payments events in Q2:  

  • Canadian Fintech Summit, which spotlights today’s embedded finance leaders who are powering the products and services used every day.  
  • 2024 CPPO Prepaid Symposium, organized by the Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization, examines the critical role prepaid has played in achieving the vision for payments innovation. 
  • 2024 Bankers Summit, hosted by the Canadian Lenders Association, showcases how next-gen FIs are partnering with fintechs to accelerate innovation. 
  • Payments Canada Summit, the payment community’s annual opportunity to discuss, debate and describe the future of payments in Canada. 
  • Open Banking Expo Canada, which brings together a global community of open banking and open finance executives responsible for digital transformation across the financial services sector. 

The Canadian market is proud to be highly “banked” – meaning only a small percentage of the population does not have a bank account – but the banking industry is highly regulated with only six big players controlling more than 90% of all banking assets. This lack of competition is spurring innovation in many ways to drive financial inclusion and digital banking experiences. Across the five payments conferences, let’s have a look at some key themes emerging from Toronto: 

  • Preparing for open banking in Canada: When it comes to open banking, or consumer-driven finance, Canada is the proverbial tortoise in the race. Many markets are a decade ahead. This unfortunately means many consumers and small businesses do not have access to all the banking services they need or may want, which has spurred exciting growth from fintechs and neobanks to meet this gap. As we await more details from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), the industry is already mobilizing internal audits, accreditations and processes with a goal to be able to participate securely in the open banking regime in late 2025. A study by EY and Symcor presented at the Open Banking Expo affirms Canadians’ excitement around this, highlighting Canadians are now 3x more willing to share data with existing financial service providers compared to 2020. 

“For open banking in Canada, the three ingredients for success are trust, collaboration and preparation.”

Saba Shariff, SVP, Chief Strategy, Product & Innovation Officer at Symcor
  • Going off the rails to drive financial inclusion: According to recent research from TFG client CPPO, prepaid has grown into a $10B market and become the platform (or “rail”) of choice to drive innovation in the Canadian financial services ecosystem. Open-loop prepaid products provide consumers, businesses and government with an efficient, secure and flexible online payment option that does not have to be tied to a bank account. Many use cases were discussed including during a keynote by Jeremy Bornstein, CRO at Peoples Group, during the Bankers Summit. He discussed the benefits of offering prepaid cards to gig workers who can receive fast access to their wages for managing daily cash flow and unexpected expenses. Other use cases include providing new Canadians with an initial point of access to financial services, as well as introducing children to financial literacy such as with the digital or physical Mydoh Smart Cash Card. 
  • Taking care of businesses: Referred to as the lifeblood of the Canadian economy, small and medium-sized companies contribute over half of Canada’s GDP and are responsible for 10 million jobs in Canada. And yet businesses still lack the flexibility, access and control needed in traditional banking offerings. It’s why we heard from fintech companies like Float and Notch who have launched solutions to enable businesses to better manage corporate spending and increase A/R or A/P automation. With 56% of Canadian finance leaders spending 1-7 days per week processing invoices, and 18% spending 4-7 days per week, these necessary fintech tools help eliminate the inefficiencies and frustrations associated with fragmented Canadian systems.
  • Leveraging tech as an enabler: Hyper-personalized, tech-enabled experiences will continue to transform the Canadian financial services ecosystem. The rate of adoption of innovative technologies is faster than ever before and businesses must adapt to remain competitive. 

“2024 is the year where emerging trends in AI, data and computing are merging to create a catalyst for value across segments.”

Rahul Deshpande, Global Head, Research & Development at Mastercard

There was transformative energy across Toronto’s fintech show scene this spring. From the role prepaid is playing in achieving payments innovation to the path to open banking in Canada, it’s clear the future of payments in Canada is bright, and trust, collaboration, and preparation will be crucial as we prepare to embrace technological advancements.