Royal Bank of Canada Announces RBC Wallet Now Available

by Istvan Fekete on January 23, 2014

The teased RBC Wallet powered by RBC Secure Cloud is now available, allowing RBC Mobile clients to purchase goods and services using their RBC Interac Debit or Visa credit cards, the Royal Bank of Canada announced on Wednesday. The catch is that you need to own an Android smartphone and be a Bell wireless subscriber.

“We are excited to bring the RBC Wallet to RBC and Bell Mobility clients, ” said Dave McKay, group head, Personal & Commercial Banking, RBC. “Our vision is for the RBC Wallet to work on all phones, with all carriers, and include value-added services and solutions – all safely secured in RBC Secure Cloud. As technology is rapidly changing, we chose a phased approach, enabling us to bring this exciting new technology to a portion of our clients right now, with many enhancements to follow.”

There are other limitations as well: The RBC Wallet is only available to RBC clients with an NFC (Near Field Communication)-enabled smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S III or the Samsung Galaxy S4. They must also have an upgraded NFC-enabled SIM card and, as previously mentioned, be Bell customers as well.

“Canada’s largest bank and Canada’s largest communications company have partnered to make your everyday purchases easier and more convenient with your smartphone,” said Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility and Residential Services, and chief brand officer at Bell. “Bell is proud to partner with RBC to enable payments using the country’s largest 4G mobile network and the latest smartphones, delivering the benefits of mobile commerce to Canadians everywhere.”

The advantage of using the RBC Wallet powered by RBC Secure Cloud? There are a handful: For example, customers can pay for small purchases using their Android smartphone at retail stores that accept contactless payments such as Interac Flash or Visa PayWave.

This means iPhone users have to use their usual payment methods, as the handset does not support NFC, and Apple has made it clear — until now — that it has no plans to add NFC support. As a recently granted Apple patent shows, the company is more interested in using the iBeacon technology, which was introduced with iOS 7 last summer.

The fact is, the industry has been promoting NFC, but the adoption rate failed to impress. Somehow, it seems like the mobile payment industry is waiting for Apple to introduce its own iWallet system, to show off a more reliable method than the NFC.

However, as the RBC initiative shows, some players are already jumping into the developing mobile banking industry, despite the limitations: NFC requires NFC-enabled smartphones, which are currently limited to a handful of devices.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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