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Augmented reality enhances RBC banking app for branch, ATM location

Royal Bank of Canada has updated its mobile banking up with augmented reality to help users find the closest RBC branch or ATM. RBC said it is the first Canadian financial institution to incorporate AR into its banking app.

AR provides a live view of a physical environment the elements of which are augmented by computer-generated input such as sound, video or GPS data.

"While many of us have apps on our phone or tablet that can help us locate the closest ATM or branch, we're usually only given the information on the branch or ATM that is closest to us — without context of which direction," RBC said in a press release. "If you're in an unfamiliar location or city, this information is meaningless."

RBC's new app uses the smartphone's location, camera and compass to provide a live, real-time streetscape showing the nearest branch or ATM depending on which way the user is facing. This is helpful in allowing the user to choose a branch or ATM that is on their way, rather than just the one that is closest, RBC said.

"The branch/ATM locator is one of the most-used tools in our mobile app," Sarah Rogers, RBC senior manager of mobile strategy, said in a statement. "By using new technology like augmented reality, we were able to develop a tool that is really useful in the day-to-day lives of our customers."

RBC's AR function is part of the most recent version of the bank's mobile app and not something that has to be downloaded separately, an RBC spokesperson told Mobile Payments Today.

"RBC has several million active online and mobile users," the spokesperson said. "Around 90 percent of our active mobile app users have upgraded their app. There have also been 25,000 new downloads of the app."