RBC CEO: “Collision Course” Coming vs Apple, Google in Mobile Payment War


RBC CEO Dave McKay told RBC investors and clients at a conference today in New York the financial institution is set to take on mobile payment competitors such as Apple and Google, warning a “collision course” is under way, reports the Financial Post.

Apple Pay, the smartphone giant’s mobile payment platform, is taking off in the United States, but such systems threaten to get in between banks and their customers, Mr. McKay told RBC investors and clients at a conference in New York on Tuesday.

Though RBC would still be paid for transactions if it were to embrace the platform, the bank would lose an important connection to the paying customer that exists with other payment methods such as credit cards.

McKay said “So we’re on a collision course,” noting how taking on Apple and Google is not something RBC would do unless it was absolutely necessary. The bank wants to be on top of the mobile payment ecosystem, instead of technology companies, touting “trust and security are key assets. They buy us time,” McKay explained.

RBC’s SecureCloud is the bank’s own mobile payment solution based in the cloud that relies on tokenization, and hopes it will help the company become a global player in processing mobile payments.

What makes Apple Pay unique is Apple doesn’t see what customers are buying, where they are buying items or the amount. This data is typically available to credit card processors and is valuable to track customer trends and spending habits.

According to Apple executive Eddy Cue, here’s how Apple Pay keeps customer purchases private:

“Apple doesn’t collect your purchase history, so we don’t know what you bought, where you bought it or how much you paid for it. And if your iPhone is lost or stolen, you can use Find My iPhone to quickly suspend payments from that device.”

RBC said earlier in January Apple Pay was “major interest to the industry.” Back in February, it was rumoured RBC Bank in the U.S. was seeking Canadian testers for Apple Pay.

Apple reportedly inked deals with major banks in the U.S. for lower credit card transactions fees for Apple Pay. The mobile payment is rumoured to launch this month in Canada, but we did not hear anything at Apple’s special event yesterday.

Right now, the race is on in Canada to see which bank or financial institution will be the first to support Apple Pay. Canada’s merchants already have a vast network of NFC-enabled and Apple Pay-ready point-of-sale terminals, which we previously showed you in demos.


  • Broski

    I’m betting on TD Bank to be the first considering their US counterpart is already using Apple Pay.

  • Al

    “…the race is on in Canada to see which bank or financial institution will be the first to support Apple Pay”

    It’s not a “race” if nobody really wants to run it. Claiming to show an interest and making actual plans to take action are two different things. Has any bank come out and actually said, “yes, we are definitely planning to support ApplePay by [insert date here]”? No. They appear to just be saying cautiously supportive stuff to keep people off their backs about it.

  • iFone

    I will take my business to the first Canadian bank that supports Apple Pay. Period.

  • T

    My bet is Desjardins since their logo was on the watch presentation….

  • andrewe

    Was it? Interesting. (So was Air Canada’s)

  • kee

    TD is the most forward banking, TD will support Apple Pay before any other bank!!!!!

  • Salinger

    I’m very much looking forward to Apple pay in Canada as well, I must say. But not at the cost of rational thought when it comes to my personal finances.

    That’s essentially saying “Bank A might have the best fees, the best products and the best service, but I’m going to Bank B because they have Apple Pay.”

  • Salinger

    I agree. I think they’re all still thinking they can make their own proprietary wallet (or that partnered with a mobile carrier) work. And while they think that, they’re not going to be super anxious to embrace Apple Pay because it gives away a bit of both profit and control.

    I think they’re all going to (at some point in the future) either a) embrace Apple Pay at practically the same time or b) never embrace it. I really don’t think you’re going to see one or two of the Big 5 take it on and the others not. Banking doesn’t really seem to work that way in Canada.

  • Salinger

    Not in tech terms. TD’s online banking and mobile app are archaic in comparison to some of the other major banks.

  • I agree with iFone. Bottom line people will switch banks, like they did in the US. Now let’s get on with it, bring on Apple Pay, or Google Wallet if that’s your choice. I can hardly wait to leave my wallet, keys at home. It would be fantastic to just leave your house with one thing, your phone.

  • Larry Taylor

    I’m guessing that RBC CEO is still using a Sony Betamax.

  • Chris

    My bet is TD, then Capital One. I wonder how many people will use RBC’s system. Their app already sucks so its hard to imagine them doing a payment system well.

  • William

    I am an RBC bank customer, credit card holder and direct investing customer. But between Apple and RBC, I choose to trust Apple in a heartbeat. I will take all my business to who implements Apple pay first.

  • William

    Their stock trading system crushes constantly. I was so furious a few days ago. there is no quote for half a day.What the f*** is that? No quotes! Unheard of.

  • Be-Bound

    No surprise bankers worry, Mobile payment, just like the whole of IoT is a huge change in paradigm…