The Battle to Turn Your Phone Into a Credit Card Continues

RBC and Bell launch RBC Wallet.

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Back in November, I wrote about the partnership between Rogers (TSX:RCI.B, NYSE:RCI) and CIBC (TSX:CM) to create Suretap. Suretap is a way to link select smart phones to your bank account give you the ability to “wave and pay”, in the same way you could with a MasterCard Paypass.

Now RBC (TSX:RY, NYSE:RY) and Bell (TSX:BCE, NYSE:BCE) have teamed up to form their own “wave and pay” system called RBC Wallet.

Running on the RBC Mobile app and backed by RBC Secure Cloud, this system allows Bell customers the ability to make purchases of up to $50, and make ATM cash withdrawals with a smartphone.

With the RBC Secure Cloud customers can also store a variety of credit and debit cards. It has the ability to make payments to individual and businesses, and you can make select payments through QR codes.

Hardware limitations

However, there are certain hardware limitations — currently there are only two phones carried by Bell that are capable delivering this service, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy S4. Both phones must be updated to “Jelly Bean” android and have a NFC-enabled SIM card, which will cost you $12.99.

Eventually the service will be expanded to other devices such as the BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry Q10, Bold 9900, Bold 9790, Curve 9360 and a range of Android-capable products from Sony, HTC and LG.

There is also the issue of only being able to use this service at stores that support either Visa pay wave or Interac Flash.

Much like the Ugo program lauched by TD Bank and Loblaws, people have the ability to earn points through the RBC rewards program when they spend at select locations. This is a clever way to entice customers to repeatedly use the “wave and pay” service. 

Foolish bottom line

With this increasing trend of banks joining forces with unlikely partners, deals such as Rogers & CIBC’s Suretap, TD Bank & Loblaw’s Ugo and now RBC & Bell’s RBC Wallet are expected to continue. RBC and the other banks are once again trying to shape how Canadians spend their money, or rather discourage them from taking out cash.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Cameron Conway does not own any shares in the companies mentioned.

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