Canadian Payment Market Overview

Xsolla researched and found many interesting facts about the most popular payment solutions in Canada.

Canadian Gaming Industry

Here we present a few important facts about the Canadian gaming industry (source: ESA Canada):

  • By volume of the gaming industry, Canada ranks third only to the United States and Japan.
  • Canada boasts a few of the world’s largest studios BioWare, EA and Ubisoft .
  • By the number of people employed in the industry, Canada remains the world leader.
  • The country has 329 gaming companies, about 53% of which consider themselves indie.
  • The gaming industry adds to Canada’s GDP at $2.3 billion annually.
  • 84% of Canadian developers are involved in mobile games.Canadian Gamer Infographic (source: ESA Canada)

Major Canadian Payment Card Networks

In Canada, there are six major payment card networks: American Express Canada, Discover, THE EXCHANGE, Interac, MasterCard Canada and VISA Canada. Each operator sets rules to abide by when using their payment card network.

To participate in these networks, merchants need to establish a contract with a payment service provider, such as an “acquirer”,  which will provide the merchant with access to payment card networks.

Top Payment Systems in Canada

The top payment systems in Canada are unsurprisingly represented by the top players including Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, and Paypal however, there are also many other options available.


Openbucks allows people to pay online using gift cards from major retailers. This is a solution for under-banked teenagers. It allows people to pay online using gift cards from major retailers. Many of them have cash or gift cards, which would allow them to pay on an Openbucks approved site. Partners of Openbucks include Subway, CVS Pharmacy, Burger King, Sports Authority, Dollar General, Circle K, and Shell Oil Company to list a few.

Interac Association

The Interac Online service allows customers to pay for goods and services over the Internet using funds directly from their bank accounts. Because no financial information is shared with the online merchant, the Interac Online service is more secure than online credit card payments. Service available to customers of four of the five largest Canadian banks: RBC Royal Bank, BMO Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust.


The ecoCard is a payment card that can be used in conjunction with an ecoAccount to load money onto and spend, online as well as offline or wherever MasterCard is accepted. The ecoCard runs independent of a bank account and is represented as an e-wallet.

Mobile Payments

In Canada, mobile payments are widespread. The ability to pay for goods via your cell phone bill is particularly attractive for people because it not only works for the mobile but also for online entertainment on the PC. The largest companies in this segment include Rogers / Fido (30% of the market), Telus Mobilty (30%) and Bell Mobility (30%). Videotron Mobility takes the smallest share in this segment (5%).

Top 5 banks

Royal Bank of Canada – RBC Royal Bank or RBC Financial Group is the largest financial institution in Canada. The bank serves 18 million clients and has 80,100 employees worldwide. The bank was founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Bank of Nova Scotia, commonly known as Scotiabank, is the third largest bank in Canada by deposits and market capitalization. It serves more than 21 million customers in over 55 countries around the world and offers a broad range of products and services including personal and commercial banking, wealth management, corporate and investment banking. With assets of $791.8 billion, Scotiabank shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.

Toronto-Dominion Bank – is a Canadian multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Toronto.

Bank of Montreal – or BMO Financial Group, is one of the Big Five banks in Canada. It is the fourth-largest bank in Canada by market capitalization and based on assets, and among the ten largest banks in North America.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce – commonly CIBC, is one of Canada’s chartered banks, fifth largest by deposits. The bank is headquartered at Commerce Court in Toronto, Ontario.

A Final Word

According to our research, Canada has grown from a minor gaming industry player into a major industry leader ranking only third in video game industry size behind the USA and Japan. With big industry studios such as BioWare, EA, and Rockstar in their arsenal, it will be interesting to see what Canada can produce in the near future. It may be worth setting your foot in the Canadian gaming industry and one way to do so is through the payment systems offered by Xsolla.

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