Mastercard and Payments Canada Partner to Build Canada's New Real-time Payment System

  • Payments
  • 12.11.2020 05:57 pm

Payments Canada today announced the selection of Mastercard’s Vocalink as the clearing and settlement solution provider for the country’s new real-time payments system, the Real-Time Rail (RTR). This announcement follows an extensive procurement process that included the Bank of Canada and the Department of Finance.

The partnership will draw on Mastercard’s expertise, and its next-generation real-time payments technology to provide the infrastructure and services to support the clearing and settlement for the RTR. The clearing and settlement solution will meet all Payments Canada requirements, including support for the ISO 20022 messaging standard, and will comply with the Bank of Canada risk management standards for prominent payment systems.

“Mastercard’s Vocalink business is a demonstrated leader in the real-time payments ecosystem and they will be a valuable partner for Payments Canada in the introduction and ongoing operation of Canada’s real-time payments system,” said Tracey Black, President and CEO of Payments Canada. “Providing Canadians and Canadian businesses with access to faster, data-rich payment options will enable innovation, support the long-term growth of the economy, and strengthen our global competitiveness.”

Operated by Payments Canada and regulated by the Bank of Canada, the RTR will allow Canadians to initiate payments and receive irrevocable funds in seconds, 24/7/365. Underpinned by the ISO 20022 data standard, the system will support payment information travelling with every payment and act as a platform for innovation, enabling the introduction of new and enhanced payment products and experiences. The RTR is expected to launch in 2022.

“As a company that operates real-time payments systems, across card and account rails around the world, we’ve seen first-hand how consumers, businesses, and governments benefit from the efficiency, transparency, and innovation they provide,” said Sasha Krstic, President of Mastercard in Canada. “We’re proud to partner with Payments Canada to support a best-in-class, data-rich real-time payments infrastructure that provides a platform for innovation to enhance Canada’s economy.”

Mastercard has proven experience in delivering real-time account-based payment platforms around the world. For example, in the U.S., The Clearing House’s RTP system is supported by Vocalink technology. And in the Nordics, Mastercard’s partnership with P27 will deliver the world’s first real-time cross border and multi-currency payments system. 

Canada’s new real-time payments system will consist of two components: a clearing and settlement component provided by Mastercard; and an exchange component. Payments Canada is in the final stages of the vendor procurement process for the exchange component. A public announcement will be made in due course.

The Real-Time Rail is a fundamental part of Payments Canada's multi-year industry program to modernize the infrastructure, rules and standards that underpin payments in Canada. To learn more about the Modernization journey please visit and subscribe to our newsletter, The Exchange.

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