RBC: We Continue to Work with Apple for Digital Wallet Solution

Linda Mantia, Executive Vice President of Digital, Payments and Cards at RBC, spoke on the Business News Network (BNN) yesterday, to discuss the state of the financial institution’s mobile payment solution, RBC Wallet.

Mantia spoke of RBC Wallet, noting “we’re in the early innings, and until we have solutions that work for all of our clients, across Android and Apple, we’re letting our clients discover it,” when asked about adoption of the mobile payment solution.

She did not disclose numbers of customers using RBC Wallet on Android, but said “we have a lot of clients—more than we would have thought.”

As for Apple and iOS customers using RBC Wallet? Mantia said “we continue to work with Apple and others to try and get a solution for our iOS clients.”

Canada’s big banks are worried the ‘fintech’ (financial technology) sector will get in between their clients, which is why RBC has developed their own technology to power a mobile payment solution.

Mantia explained “if anyone is standing between us and our clients, we don’t get those insights to drive those solutions for our clients, and we’re very focused on insuring our products are the most relevant, convenience and secure—because we don’t want someone between us.”

Does this mean a partnership for Apple Pay is out of the question? It’s too soon to speculate, but she did acknowledge talks are ongoing with the iPhone maker.

RBC Wallet stores payment credentials in the company’s own RBC Secure Cloud, versus other digital wallets offered by banks and wireless carriers that utilize NFC SIM cards instead, which Mantia said lacked the flexibility and convenience of RBC’s cloud solution.

RBC Wallet works for eligible credit and debit cards from the bank, on an NFC-capable smartphone running Android 4.4 or newer, with the RBC Mobile Android app installed.

To pay with RBC Wallet, customers need to: 

1. Take out their smartphone;

2. Launch the RBC Wallet app;

3. Select their payment card;

4. Enter their passcode;

5. Hold the phone to a contactless terminal to pay.

In comparison, to pay with Apple Pay, customers need to: 

1. Take out their iPhone with thumb placed on Touch ID;

2. Hold the phone to a contactless terminal.

What makes Apple Pay so great, is it automatically detects when your phone is near a contactless terminal and activates—there’s no need to launch an app or even activate the home screen. You can pay with your eyes closed.

Not only that, Touch ID securely authenticates Apple Pay credit card purchases, stored in the Secure Enclave, within the iPhone’s processor.

As Apple explains, “the Secure Enclave is walled off from the rest of the chip and the rest of iOS. Therefore, iOS and other apps never access your fingerprint data, it’s never stored on Apple servers, and it’s never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else.”

Apple Pay launched in Canada back in November, limited to American Express-issued cardholders. Canadians are eagerly awaiting the first Canadian bank to back Apple Pay, to support their existing bank-issued Visa and MasterCards.

Earlier this week, RBC Wallet for iOS launched in the App Store, to allow customers to buy, send, and redeem gift cards, plus check their debit and credit card account balances in real-time.

Any bets on when we’ll see a Canadian bank support Apple Pay?

Thanks Mohammed

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • mrideas

    It’s amazing that all these Banks are so scared to death of Apple and think that Apple is coming between them and their ‘customers’. Idiotic really. I just want to use my damn iPhone to pay for things simply and easily. Most of the android wallet solutions they have are clunky and terrible. I’m still keenly aware that I would be using my Bank’s credit card when using Apple Pay. Call me crazy but seems like a whole lot of hand wringing for no good reason. The simplicity of Apple Pay seems lost on them…and they continue to alienate ½ or more of their mobile customers using iOS.

  • Cameron Bales

    The RBC wallet app is a grade A POS. (Not point of sale)

    I deleted it from my phone after seeing the security disaster.

  • BigCat

    I agree.

    Now, the banks are starting worry that they will be the ones who are seen as putting their interests before that of their customers. Which they have always done.

  • Andrew

    Not sure when they added it, but RBC Bank USA—the US bank for snowbirds owned by the Royal Bank—has Apple Pay support on their US dollar credit cards. You have to call their 800 number and wait on hold for ten minutes to activate, unlike the more seamless experience with AMEX, but they do support it.

  • ShaBi

    They don’t need to worry, they are already in that position since day one.

    The only reasonable explanation as to why Canadian banks are still not supporting Apple Pay, is they don’t want to give Apple that fee. Plain and simple.

  • Stefan

    I am tired of waiting RBC to start supporting Apple Pay in Canada.

    Anyone has a good tutorial on how to get Amex Apple Pay enabled card?

  • JV

    Apply for their SimplyCash. Keep a normal bank visa or MasterCard because only 8/10 or 9/10 stores take Amex. Once in a while you’ll need to use your banks CC.

  • Bob Zmuda

    Yeah RBC always looking out for my best interests. Raising banking fees and paying piddley interest on savings… What more could I ask for?

  • johnnygoodface

    Exactly! Putting our personnal stuff in their Cloud for more “conveniences” is NOT the way to go… Keep private stuff local! Like Apple Pay

  • Jack

    Yes, I am a snowbird and can confirm that RBC Bank USA does in fact support Apple Pay both on compatible iPhones and Apple Watch. As mentionned by Andrew, contrary to activating a US Capital One Master Card directly on the iPhone like for AMEX, I had to call once to activate it on my phone and again for the watch. In addition,, Apple Pay also works both with my RBC USA Debit and Credit (Visa) cards.

  • Mr Dog

    1. Go to AMEX Website, and find card that fits your needs
    2. Get a referral code from a friend to get extra points (Optional)
    3. Click apple on AMEX website for which card you choose
    4. Fill out required information
    5. Receive card in Mail within a week
    6. Add Card to Apple Pay
    7. Rejoice!

  • sukisszoze

    The bean counters at RBC figure how much they will need to pay Apple and convinced management it’s cheaper to develop their own wallet..totally forgetting the user experience factors..

  • Widohmaker

    Bloody Canadian banks are so backwards it’s infuriating!

  • CM

    I gave up waiting (for CIBC in my case) and got an Amex card last week – now that I’ve started using Apple Pay, I only wish I had done it sooner, it really is fantastic. I’ve been using the Apple Watch to pay, people look at me like I’m from the future 🙂

  • Widohmaker

    Apple should charge all Canadian Banks a ‘per user’ fee for their apps on the App Store. I’m sure that will change their tone.

  • toronto_dude

    I gave up waiting too, in my case for Scotiabank to jump on board, and got an Amex specifically so I can use Apple Pay right now. No regrets, it’s cool and convenient.

  • Nice! Lots of people have done the same. Apple Pay gets really addicting!

  • BigCat

    This is a perfect example of how Amex in Canada turned Apple Pay into public relations success. Amex comes off looking really good by placing their customers needs and service first.

    I had Amex some years ago. After seeing how they handled Apple Pay I am starting to think that maybe it is time to throw some business their way.

  • Corrode

    Reading this actually made me mad. Banks need to pull their heads out of their collective asses and give customers what they want. The more people switch to Amex, the more their hand will be forced to offer Apple Pay.

    I only use MC when I have to. Everything else is on Amex.

  • winnertakesteve

    down side is amex has lost my card in the mail twice now… and i’m struggling to find places i frequent that will accept it. 🙁

  • Cornfed710

    You really should, every little bit counts.

  • erth

    i do not think that rbc or td or cibc need to work WITH apple for mobile solution. they need to implement apple pay. if they are not happy that apple wants to be paid for their solution, that is another thing.

    let’s call a spade a spade.

  • OliChabot

    Same here. And I’m impressed because since I got my AMEX I never had to pull out my Visa ! the myth that AMEX is not accepted is kind of fake because I never had any merchand tell me they don’t take Apple Pay, just that they don’t take Paypass… And I tweeted to Desjardins to let them know I will stop using my Visa until they get Apple Pay !

  • Ron

    It’s just a matter of time. All those banks will have no choice but to support Apple Pay. Everyday they’re loosing customers to Amex. I stopped using my credit cards since Apple Pay came to Canada. It’s such a pleasure using it.