RBC launches new iPhone, BlackBerry apps

The Royal Bank of Canada has launched a new mobile banking app for iPhone and BlackBerry users aimed at letting personal and business customers access their accounts on the go.

The RBC mobile app, which was officially announced on Tuesday, lets users view account balances, manage credit lines, pay bills, transfer money between RBC accounts, and send online e-mail money transfers. Customers will also be able to access their full transaction history and locate RBC branch/ATM location information.

Eddy Ortiz, the director of RBC’s digital strategy and experience unit, said the app is the first “fully integrated” mobile banking platform offered by a Canadian banking institution. This means that the app was specifically built for the BlackBerry and iPhone form factors, which RBC said sets it apart from rival banking apps from CIBC and TD Canada Trust.

For example, RBC customers using the device on a BlackBerry Bold will notice the app is both optimized for the screen size and takes advantage of the BlackBerry menu key.

“The app truly leverages the capabilities of these particular mobile devices,” Ortiz said.

While the app is now freely available for iPhone and BlackBerry devices, he added that Android and Windows Phone 7 users will have to wait a little bit longer as the development team works on porting over the app.

Throughout the app development process, Ortiz said RBC’s app team kept scalability as a top priority. This, he said, will allow the company to roll out additional features to the mobile app in the future.

As part of the launch, RBC rolled out the results of an Ipsos Reid report it recently commissioned. The 1,017-person survey polled Canadians and found that 44 per cent citing an interest in mobile banking.

The poll also found that 34 per cent of responding Canadians were interested in the ability to check their account balances, 32 per cent wanted to pay bills, 28 per cent were looking for access to their transaction history, and 26 per cent wanted to be able to transfer funds between accounts.

“Account balance is probably going to be the most popular one,” Ortiz said. He added that the branch and ATM locator, which is integrated with the user’s BlackBerry or iPhone GPS, will also be a highly used feature.

Topping the list of concerns in the RBC poll was security, which 24 per cent of respondents said would be the reason for their hesitation to try mobile banking for the first time.

To combat this problem, Ortiz said RBC’s mobile banking service is extending its clients the same guarantees they get while banking online. This means clients will be reimbursed for any unintended losses to their account.

Earlier this year, Scotiabank rolled out a mobile banking platform that allows users to make account changes via text messages. The service provides account holders the option to perform certain transactions by sending an SMS code along with a brief text command like “BAL ALL” if they want to view all their account balances.

The bank has since rolled out a mobile-optimized browser version and a downloadable iPhone banking app.

– With files from Kathleen Lau

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