December 05, 2012

U.S. Bank announced today that it has partnered with Mitek Systems to release Mitek's Mobile Photo Bill Pay, a new solution that allows customers to pay a bill by snapping a photo of it with their mobile device and sending the bill information and amount to their bank.

The solution is similar to mobile remote deposit capture, both in its use of imaging technology and the benefit of convenience that it provides for the customer. Online bill pay can be an onerous process because the customer has to type in so much information, says Chris Peper, VP of mobile channel management at Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank (asset size $352 billion). By taking a photo of the bill with Mitek's solution, all of that information is automatically populated from the bill itself, removing a barrier to bill pay adoption, he explains. Once the photo is taken the customer is able to verify the payment date and amount on their mobile device before sending the payment request to the bank. Customers can also set up electronic bill payments and recurring bill payments with the service, Peper notes.

"This encourages our customers to go to our digital channels and will help pull our online customers to our mobile services," Peper says. "It will also introduce our mobile customers to our bill pay service." He adds that the new technology also gives the bank a chance to differentiate themselves from their competition in terms of convenience and customer experience.

Mitek's mobile photo bill pay solution can integrate will be available on iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Blackberry 10 platforms for both smartphones and tablets, says Jim DeBello, Mitek's president and CEO.

Debello says that the market for mobile photo bill pay is actually larger than that for mobile remote check deposit since customers pay bills more often than they remotely deposit checks. Citing research from Javelin on different customer segments and the number of customers banking online who don't use online bill pay. Mobile bill pay also opens up opportunities for the underbanked. "There's a whole segment of the underserved who don't have high-speed internet but have a smartphone," he relates. "Banks can approach that market with this technology."

DeBello adds that the solution does not store any bill or payment information on the mobile device. All of the information derived from the paper bill is encrypted and sent to U.S. Bank for security purposes. U.S. Bank's Peper says that the bank is currently in the process of bringing the solution's software with in its firewall and is on schedule for its release in early 2013.

Jonathan Camhi is a graduate of the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, where he focused on international reporting and interned at the Hindustan Times in Delhi, ...