January 20, 2011

Banco Sabadell announced this week that it is the first Spanish bank to launch a mobile deposit capture service, which it calls Instant Check. It allows smartphone users to deposit checks by taking pictures of them with their iPhone or Android phone.

The bank's video demo, below, is in Spanish, but even if you don't speak the language you can plainly see that the app is similar to the Mitek-based check image capture software several U.S. banks have rolled out, including USAA Bank and Chase.

The bank has also launched a new version of its mobile bank application for Android and Windows Phone, and provides access from those apps to the bank's YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages. It's also working on a mobile payment solution.

Banco Sabadell reports that more than 10% of remote users contact the bank through their mobile phone and there are 19,000 accesses to mobile banking every day.

"What is surprising is that Banco Sabadell would beat so many U.S. banks to the mobile RDC punch -- particularly considering the state of check payments in Spain," commented Celent analyst Bob Meara in a blog today. "Checks represent a small minority of payments in Spain (less than 2% of payment volume in the National Electronic Clearing System). Personal checks are rarely used in Spain, and are not accepted as a form of payment by most establishments. Yet, banks are of course, compelled to honor checks and process them expeditiously. As check volumes dwindle, the cost to process each item grows substantially."

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