Wireless carrier Rogers files to become a bank

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In a relatively out-of-the-blue move, mobile carrier Rogers has filed to become a bank.

Rogers Communications Inc. intends to apply to the Minister of Finance for the issue of letters patent incorporating a bank under the Bank Act (Canada) primarily focused on credit, payment and charge card services.

The bank will carry on business in Canada under the name of Rogers Bank in English and Banque Rogers in French, and its head office will be located in Toronto, Ontario.

The September 3rd filing proves Rogers’ dedication to mobile payments, which makes sense, although the “niche credit card opportunity” a spokesman described is something I didn’t anticipate.

The telco won’t build physical banks but instead act as a retailer offering its own line of credit cards. The company could also better position itself to take a share of revenue from mobile payments.

Mobile payments are expected to become a major deal in the coming years, so the timing is advantageous for Rogers. But will anyone want Rogers as their bank? Historically, telcos in Canada have a bad rap with consumers, who don’t like or trust their carriers. But the dependence is clear, the long-term relationships inevitable, and the potential incentives high. So maybe, just maybe, it might work.

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