Digital transformation and payments modernization

IBM Canada and prairie credit unions are teaming up to digitally transform credit union payment services in Canada

By and Dave McCann | 1 minute read | May 11, 2020

Financial district skyline

At store cash registers across the country there is a good chance you will see a sign that asks customers to refrain from using cash, if they can, to try and prevent contact spread of the COVID-19 virus. While this is a new trend, the shift in Canadians choosing digital payments over cash has been growing for a while. In fact, according to Payments Canada’s annual Canadian Payments Methods and Trends Report released in December, electronic payments account for 73 percent of all transaction volume versus cash at 21 percent. Consequently, governing bodies are continually updating regulations to keep pace with those demands.

This week, IBM Canada and a new Prairie Payments Joint Venture (PPJV) – which includes Alberta Central, SaskCentral and Credit Union Central of Manitoba and collectively represents more than 75 credit unions across the three prairie provinces – announced that we are working together to digitally transform and modernize credit union payment services in Canada. This is the largest agreement of its kind in Canada for the credit union system.

The decision by the PPJV is indicative of the dramatic movement we are seeing with payment modernization across the country (and around the world) to meet the growing demand for frictionless interactions. Expectations of Canadians are for speed and accuracy but also for better privacy and security. Hosting payments platforms in the cloud provides that but also enables financial institutions the flexibility to rapidly innovate as demands evolve and grow, while also meeting strict regulatory requirements for financial data transmission and fraud detection.

This modernized Payments-as-a-Service platform is being deployed in a private cloud that is hosted on IBM public cloud and delivered by IBM Services through IBM Payments Centre Canada. Onboarding of participating credit unions is expected to begin this fall, starting with a Single-Zone Region (SZR) deployment model which will be expanded to support Multi-Zone Region (MZR) in the future.


Portrait of Dave McCann, , Managing Partner, Global Business Services, IBM Canada

Dave McCann,
Managing Partner, Global Business Services, IBM Canada