PPJV - an entity created by Alberta Central, SaskCentral and Credit Union Central of Manitoba - has signed an eight-year agreement with IBM for an unspecified sum, although it is known to be in the multi-millions.
The plan to digitally reinvigorate credit union payments in Canada represents the most significant of its kind, with the PPJV collectively representing over 75 credit unions spread across the prairie provinces.
The shift to digital payments
The partnership recognises that the shift in consumer preference for digital transactions as opposed to physical cash is prevailing and seeks to accommodate this with appropriate infrastructure.
Highlighting a recent Payments Canada report, wherein it was estimated that 73% of all transactions are now electronically based, which is likely to increase because of COVID-19 restrictions making cash even more unpopular, IBM is helping Canadian finance stay ahead.
Utilising its IBM Payments Centre Canada platform, IBM’s PaaS (payments as a service) system will be deployed via a private cloud offering hosted on IBM’s public cloud.
Taking sector regulations and constraints into account, the solution will be able to maintain high standards of cybersecurity to protect sensitive data, including AI/ML-based analytics software to detect infiltration and compromisation.
Crucially, the platform will also enable enterprise agility by allowing tech startups and fintechs to integrate and supplement group innovation capabilities.
Keeping pace with the changes
Although PPJV and IBM’s partnership represents a bold step in Canadian finance’s development, Michael Devlin, CEO of PPJV, highlighted that the sector has always been at the frontier of tech innovation.
"Credit unions have always been innovators. From being the first to offer debit card services, ATM banking, to mobile pay and mobile banking, we know how critical it is to move faster with our payments products and digital experience offerings.
“To keep pace, the need for payments modernisation for credit unions has never been greater. We are happy to be working with IBM Canada on this initiative,” he added.
Dave McCann, Managing Partner at IBM Canada, stated that the company’s technology would enable Canadians to carry out transactions with the frictionless ease, security and convenience that they demand.
“By hosting [PPJV’s] payments platform in the cloud, we will ultimately enable onboarded credit unions the flexibility to rapidly innovate new digital member experiences for businesses and members across all payment types in a more efficient, safe and resilient manner."