“Siri, Pay My Power Bill” Now Possible With Royal Bank of Canada

August 8, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Paying bills is never what you’d call a fun experience. Leave aside the obvious loss of cash, just sitting down and filling out that check, putting it in an envelope and mailing it is also clear drudgery. Mobile payments have improved things here, but there’s still something of a procedure to that. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has streamlined the process still further, and all by allowing it to connect to Siri.

Those with RBC accounts and Apple hardware sufficient to handle the voice-driven assistant will be able to effectively set things up to tell Siri to handle bill payments with a simple voice command. Setup is fairly simple; giving Siri the voice command then requires users to confirm the name of the intended recipient. After that, the mobile app will automatically debit the bill payer’s account and then transfer the resulting cash to the target account.

That’s not the only expansion RBC recently made connected to Apple, either, as users will be able to turn to iMessage to use Interac e-Transfer payments. This is almost easier; users need only type the amount desired to transfer in a conversation window, then using Apple’s Touch ID system to authenticate the transaction.

The Siri connection is said to be a first for all of Canada, and the Interac connection will also likely prove welcome as RBC customers are said to be “avid users” of the platform, according to word from RBC’s executive vice president of cards, payment and banking Sean Amato-Gauci.

Any time a bank can bring out a nationwide first like RBC just did here, it’s a noteworthy occasion. That’s first-mover advantage, and it can represent real advances in the field, drawing in new customers who want access to a service that literally no one else has. First-mover advantages tend to have a bit of a shelf life—especially those connected to third-party services like this one—as other competitors try to win back that customer base with improved services. But for right now, the field is wide open and all RBC.

It may not have this edge for long, but it’s likely to take full advantage of it while it’s here. Good news for RBC, and for its customers.