How Royal Bank of Canada moved fast to deploy mobile payments

By Ann Brocklehurst, Contributing Writer

Staying ahead of a technological shift in your industry can be tough when you’re not a tech leader like Google or Apple. Should you marshal the internal resources necessary to do cutting-edge development on your own, or simply wait for one of the tech giants to make their move, join them as a partner — and risk letting them come between you and your customers?

rbc-mantiaThat was the situation facing Canada’s largest bank, Royal Bank of Canada, three years ago. RBC didn’t see itself as a competitor to the tech companies as it became clear that consumers would soon expect to use their mobile phones to make payments, says Linda Mantia, executive vice president of Digital, Cards & Payments at the $26 billion financial services institution. In fact, Mantia says, the Toronto-based bank “wanted to be everyone’s best partner.” But it also wanted to move quickly to understand the technology, how it could be deployed, and how consumers would respond to it.

“RBC knew for years knew how massive a transformation mobile was going to be to payments, so we weren’t confused on how important it was to get it right,” Mantia explained in a recent interview with Innovation Leader. The bank, she says, “understands payments right to their core” and has always done R&D in the area.

“We are trying to use all these amazing new technologies that are being developed to drive solutions for problems that clients have always had. We’re just in a better position today than ever before to solve those problems.”

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