RBC Set to Launch First Mobile Digital Wallet in October

According to a report from the Globe and Mail, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is set to be the first bank to offer a mobile digital wallet to Canadians, with a debut slated for October of this year:

Royal Bank of Canada is expected to be first into the market in October, when it launches a digital wallet for mobile phones that will use RBC cards at first, but will eventually expand to welcome all brands of debit and credit cards. A few months later, the bank will launch a digital wallet for online purchases in partnership with Visa that holds all varieties of cards, regardless of brand.

Other major banks are expected to follow after RBC in the later year. A concept of ‘aliases’ will be relied upon by the banks, where a password will enable consumers to access their payment cards without having personal info being passed to the merchant, which is a similar strategy currently used by PayPal.

David McKay, head of Canadian banking at RBC had this to say:

“We haven’t offered that as a banking system until now…Just like your physical wallet has all your cards, our wallet has to have all your cards. We can’t just say only RBC products [are permitted], because the consumer doesn’t want to have five wallets if they have five service providers. They want one wallet.”

It was only a few months ago Rogers and CIBC announced a partnership to allow credit card transactions via VISA and MasterCard on upcoming smartphones via near field communication (NFC). Just prior to that announcement the Canadian Bankers Association released guidelines for mobile payment technologies. It’s becoming quite evident banks want to know what you purchase and where, as this data can be extremely valuable for companies to track.

As for Apple and their plans for an ‘iWallet’, it was revealed by the WSJ recently the Cupertino-based company is purposely holding back on implementing their vision for mobile payments. Apple sees the adoption rate for mobile payments to be in its infancy stage, and it won’t be years until paying using your smartphone becomes the norm. Hence, the announcement of Passbook in iOS 6.

Mobile digital wallets sound pretty great, but until they can replace every single card in my wallet, I’m going to stick to paying with plastic. Are you eager to embrace a mobile digital wallet anytime soon?

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