RBC, Bell Wallet Now Live in Canada (Jan. 13, 2014)
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and telecom provider Bell Canada have gone live with a mobile payment system that enables RBC customers to make purchases online and in stores using NFC-compatible smartphones over Bell’s mobile network. First announced last May and tested this past summer, the service is being offered as a new feature within RBC’s existing mobile app, meaning customers don’t need to download an additional app; users only need to link a payment card to begin using the service. Compatible smartphone models include a range of NFC-enabled BlackBerry and Android devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, according to the companies. In-store NFC payments can be made at any retailer equipped with Visa payWave or Interac Flash, with a transaction limit of $100. The system also integrates a loyalty program, enabling users to rack up points when shopping at retailers enlisted in RBC’s rewards program and sign up for personalized offers.
The RBC-Bell mobile payment service goes live in a competitive Canadian mobile payments market—one that many industry observers are projecting will become the next battleground in the mobile wallet wars. Toronto-based bank CIBC was early out of the gate in November 2012, launching an NFC-based mobile payment app in partnership with another Canadian telecom, Rogers Communications Inc. Rogers, meanwhile, separately announced plans two months ago to offer a mobile wallet of its own, and is in the process of seeking a banking license from Canada’s Ministry of Finance. Two other Canadian banks, PC Financial and TD Bank, also have a wallet in the works, dubbed Ugo, which is set to launch this spring. And last year, Canadian consumers were the first in North America to be able to use MasterCard’s MasterPass digital wallet to make online and in-store purchases.