If you think we’re all hyperconnected now, just wait.
Let’s look ahead a few years, to the time when today’s high schoolers will be thinking about buying a home. Maybe they’ll benefit from AI-enabled mortgage advice they receive from a bot, or they will be able to select from a range of services that have been hyper targeted to their unique needs. If recent history is any indication, what seems novel or even far-fetched right now will seem perfectly ordinary to these young people.
Exciting things can happen when we are all connected and interdependent. Technology and innovation can empower Canadians, removing friction and barriers between them and their finances.
A key component to enabling our future prosperity via technology is trust.
Trust is an essential element of society. It unifies our families, our communities and the way we are governed. It is also a key component to the success of any business. Done well, not only is it an expression of brand, it can become a competitive advantage.
To deliver on the promises of the future, Canadians need to trust that new technology is secure and will provide meaningful benefits in their lives.
Canadians expect to have access to new technologies that make their lives easier. According to research that Interac commissioned, 75 per cent of Canadians are interested in improving government services through digital technology and 53 per cent want banks and financial institutions to be more innovative.
At the same time just 27 per cent of Canadians believe technology is making their information safer. And 83 per cent want to limit the personal information they give to technology and social media companies.
At the heart of any new technology there is a ‘trust challenge’ – we want the convenience the new product or service is offering, but we are uncomfortable with sacrificing control and consent over personal information and data.
In a world where people are often unaware when they have provided consent for companies to use their personal information or data, and unable to understand how that information is being used, building trust and fostering confidence is increasingly difficult.
With this in mind, how do we move forward in a way that addresses these concerns and helps to enable adoption of new technology?
At Interac, we’ve been exploring different areas that have the potential to empower Canadians by not only meeting their needs securely, but also giving them control over their information in a digital age.
- Digital ID: Digital versions of identity documents — driver’s licences, passports and bank cards, for example — have the potential to offer individuals more privacy, security and control over how their information is used and shared, while at the same time eliminating threats associated with physical ID documents such as theft and counterfeiting. At Interac, we are working with our partners in the public and private sectors to deliver secure digital versions of key identity documents, thereby enabling Canadians to conveniently authenticate themselves and securely transact.
- Open banking: Open banking is about providing a bank account holder the ability to securely grant a third-party service provider — such as a financial planning app — access to account details and payment functions.
As government and industry consider the adoption of an open banking system for Canada, we believe there is an opportunity to enable new capabilities while at the same time increasing consumer confidence and control. We can accomplish this by employing API-based access methods, strong authentication, clear consent, and encrypting all information that should be kept private.
- Blockchain: We often associate blockchain — a distributed ledger system that creates a verifiable record of virtual transactions — with virtual currencies. Yet the technology has the potential to do much more than that. Blockchain can enable transparency and trust in transactions across wider and more varied networks than ever before possible.
That sounds terrific in theory, but what does it mean in practice? At Interac, we tested this concept earlier this year in partnership with IBM and Alectra Utilities to demonstrate that blockchain could be used to incent customers to adopt behaviours that would optimize the efficiency of the power grid. We used Interac e-Transfer to reward utility customers who participated with real dollars that they could spend or save at their discretion.
At Interac we understand that the digital economy of the future will be underpinned by trust and consumer confidence. As one of Canada’s most trusted brands, we are building on our 35-year history of bringing innovative new technologies and services into people’s lives.
We are always looking for innovation partners, because we understand that the benefits of co-operation outweigh the risks of fragmentation. We have learned that outcomes are often better when companies — even competitors — work together to develop new digital technologies, solutions and products. We are natural collaborators. It’s in the DNA of our organization.
Our most important collaboration is the relationship we have enjoyed with Canadians for decades. We want Canadians to know that we will continue to innovate with their needs in mind, always built on a foundation of trust.