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