Access to Canada’s payment infrastructure begins with Payments Canada membership

Membership opens up the opportunity to access the payment infrastructure owned and operated by Payments Canada.

Our members are committed to upholding Payments Canada’s mandate, including following the legal framework of the national payment systems as set out in the Canadian Payments Act.

Payments Canada membership is categorized into two types: mandatory members and non-mandatory — or eligible — members. Mandatory members are the Bank of Canada and all chartered banks operating in Canada. Non-mandatory members are trust and loan companies, credit union centrals, life insurance companies, and federations of caisses populaires and other deposit-taking institutions.

The benefits of Payments Canada membership

In 2022, Wealthsimple joined Payments Canada and became the first non-bank/credit union to ever be granted a settlement account at the Bank of Canada.

“In addition to accessing Payments Canada systems, Wealthsimple also sits on the Membership Advisory Council (MAC). This gives Wealthsimple a seat at the table alongside banks and other key industry players to share data and insights, discuss what’s on the hearts and minds of Canadians and help shape the future of Canada’s payment infrastructure.”

- Hanna Zaidi
Chief Compliance Officer

Value of membership


The participation requirements for each payment system vary depending on an organizations’ participation level. A direct participant is a financial institution that has a settlement or clearing account with the Bank of Canada and is authorized to access and participate on the payment systems directly. Payments Canada membership does not guarantee access to payment systems.

  • the Retail batch payment system includes direct participants — direct clearers, group clearers and clearing agents — and indirect clearers—members that use the services of a clearing agent for exchange and settlement of payment items
  • Lynx, Canada’s high-value payment system includes direct participants and Lynx non-participant partners


Payments Canada members have the opportunity to stay informed and contribute to Payments Canada initiatives. We offer formalized processes, including working groups and committees where members work with payment system experts, as well as regular interactions with our Industry Relations team for a more personalized engagement.

Members may:


Payments Canada delivers original, high-quality research and insights that inform policy development, strategic and operational decision-making to members.

Members may: 

  • provide feedback on policy development
  • receive early access to Payments Canada market research, reports and in-depth presentations
  • access tailored system analytics reports

Connect at The SUMMIT

Members have an opportunity to play a prominent role at The SUMMIT, Canada’s premier payment event. Our members receive early access to special offers and announcements, and other exclusive experiences and learning opportunities.

How to apply


Please contact us to learn more about your organization's eligibility to join the approximately 110 participating financial institutions that are members of Payments Canada. You should receive a response within five business days. Organizations that are eligible for Payments Canada membership are defined in subsection 4(2) of the Canadian Payments Act .


If your organization is deemed eligible, Payments Canada will share an application form to review and complete. Application requirements are outlined in sections 3 and 4 of the Canadian Payments Act and in By-law No. 1 - General.


Applications are reviewed quarterly at Payments Canada Board of Directors’ meetings. Upcoming board dates will be provided at the beginning of your application process. Your organization will be notified once a final decision has been made.

Payments Canada is available to assist with any questions you may have while completing your application, reach out to

The future: Expanding membership eligibility

In November of 2023, changes to the Canadian Payments Act (CP Act) were included in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement implementation bill tabled in Parliament. In consultation with our members, stakeholders and regulators, Payments Canada will advance by-law amendments required to operationalize changes to the CP Act. We look forward to working with the industry to bring the benefits of broader access to life.

Broader membership and access to Payments Canada systems will foster greater choices and innovation, laying the foundation for important benefits and opportunities for people living in Canada and their businesses.