Press Release

Payments Canada selects Mastercard’s Vocalink as the clearing and settlement solution provider for Canada’s new real-time payments system, the Real-Time Rail

November 12, 2020 | Ottawa

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.

About Payments Canada

Payments Canada ensures that financial transactions in Canada are carried out safely and securely each day. The organization underpins the Canadian financial system and economy by owning and operating Canada’s payment clearing and settlement infrastructure, including associated systems, bylaws, rules and standards. The value of payments cleared and settled by Payments Canada in 2019 was over $55 trillion or $218 billion each business day. These encompass a wide range of payments made by Canadians and businesses involving inter-bank transactions, including those made with debit cards, pre-authorized debits, direct deposits, bill payments, wire payments and cheques. Payments Canada is a proud supporter of the Catalyst Accord and the 30% Club.


About Vocalink

A Mastercard company, Vocalink designs, builds and operates industry-leading bank account-based payments systems. Our technologies power the UK’s real time payments, settlements and direct debit systems, as well as the UKs network of nearly 60,000 ATMs. In addition, our proven real-time bank account-based payment solutions provide more payment choice to customers in Sweden, Singapore, Thailand and the United States, with further programmes in progress in the Nordics, Peru, Philippines and Saudi Arabia.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.