Canadian banking group RBC is teaming with Visa to launch a pilot of mobile payments technology that will allow customers to pay for purchases using handsets.
The Ontario-based pilot is expected to be completed in 2008 and involve multiple phases including in-lab testing, a RBC staff pilot and a consumer trial.
Participants will be provided with mobile phones embedded with near field communications (NFC) technology and featuring Visa's contactless payWave application. Users will able to make a contactless payment by waving the handset over a reader.
The functions to be tested in the pilot include secure delivery and storage of account information to the mobile device; m-payments at retailers; storing and redeeming mobile payment coupons; and mobile account management.
"Many of our clients would appreciate the convenience of making purchases through their mobile phones rather than fumbling for cash when trying to get through a busy checkout line. Mobile devices, much like electronic payments, have become a mainstay in people's lives, so combining the two securely makes a lot of sense," says Anne Koski, head of payments innovation at RBC's cards division.
The bank claims to be the first bank in Canada to road test the mobile payments technology.
RBC says its launch of mobile payments in Canada is closely aligned with the country's migration to chip card technology. The bank is currently participating in an industry chip trial taking place in the Kitchener-Waterloo. As part of this trial RBC is also providing customers with cards featuring the Visa payWave contactless payment feature.