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How Is Mobile Banking Changing the Way Canadians Manage Their Money?

By The Globe and Mail

Published August 29, 2017 • 4 Min Read

Canadians are embracing mobile banking. Technology is changing our lives so fast that chances are many people can’t remember the last time they paid a bill in a bricks and mortar bank.

According to RBC, more than 84 per cent of client transactions are now completed using laptops, tablets and smartphones, and the number of active mobile users has been going up more than 20 per cent a year.

It’s a race for innovation. All of Canada’s big banks and investment firms are in an intense competition to add new features and capabilities to their mobile technology, resulting in more user-friendly apps. In the past year alone, RBC has initiated features such as authenticated call-and-chat, giving customers the ability to connect with a live advisor without having to answer a number of personal security questions (the callers are already authenticated by the app). Recently the RBC Mobile banking app was rated ‘Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Canadian Mobile Banking Apps’ by J.D. Power.

It’s even possible to open an account, and set and reset passwords via a mobile device. Customers can also manage their deposits and withdrawals effortlessly through mobile text and email alerts, and set up their own limits on how much can be withdrawn. A quick swipe of the screen can tell them their account balances, and they can send money anywhere in the world using their smartphone. Bank account options also continue to evolve to meet the needs of clients in today’s digital world.Canadians can seamlessly move from mobile to ATM to in-branch transactions, using cost-effective banking choices, such as an all-inclusive bank account.

With technology advancements, there are challenges, of course. It takes time for people to get used to new things and learn the its benefits. “An app can solve a problem, but every new one has a learning curve,” says Sandra Foster, a financial author and president of Toronto-based Headspring Consulting Inc. “For example, there’s an app that allows the secure signing and transmission of real-estate documents from anywhere in the world. [A] first-time user needs time to learn how to use it. Not knowing how to use something creates new frustrations, at least until you figure it out.”

Meanwhile, the pace of change keeps speeding up. “We’re building and launching products faster than we ever have, and you can only expect that pace to accelerate,” says Peter Tilton, Senior Vice-President, Digital, RBC. “Clients have come to expect a digital touch in all that they do, especially when it comes to banking and payments. That’s how we’re digitally enabling our clients – to build relationships, engage with them, and provide the value they’re looking for.”

At the same time, it’s important to avoid the pitfalls of technology, such as falling prey to hackers, warns Ms. Foster at Headspring Consulting. “For some people, ‎the future creates change and uncertainty; for others, it creates wide-open opportunities we have not even yet imagined,” she notes. While most of these opportunities are positive, it’s always wise to be wary.

“We encourage clients to monitor their account activity using RBC’s mobile app and online banking and report any behavior that may be suspicious,” Mr. Tilton says. “Clients should also choose a password that would be difficult for others to guess, and take appropriate steps to protect it.”

One of the big trends in cyber security is biometric recognition. In the past year, RBC has added universal support for fingerprint sign-in to its iOS and Android mobile banking apps. This technology leverages a combination of industry and RBC solutions to make mobile banking even more secure and convenient for clients.

“We ensure our information-security and fraud-management teams are fully engaged with any new services or experiences we design,” Mr. Tilton says. “We regularly review our security practices and security technology, and devote a great deal of attention and resources to privacy and security of transactions, so that our clients’ information is safe and protected.”

But could too much technology become, well, too much? Ms. Foster wonders if that’s the case. “Will we miss not using paper or end up regretting living in a world where we end up doing more work ourselves?” she asks.

So far, though, everything points to technology making banking easier, more secure and convenient – and literally at our fingertips.

“Do you use your mobile device for banking? Our online tool can help you find the right account for your mobile banking habits.”

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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