October 18, 2010

Mitek Systems has introduced a product that lets banks offer their customers the ability to pay bills by taking pictures of them with their digital camera. The Mitek software automatically detects and turns into text the payee name and the amount of the check (similar to mobile and ATM deposit technology). According to Mitek, the software also will handle the transfer of funds from the customer's bank account to the payee account. Transactions conclude with verification that the users' bills have been paid and electronic payments have been sent from their financial institutions.

So far, the app supports the iPhone 4, which has a widely admired five-megapixel camera. Mitek plans to support other smartphones and operating systems, including BlackBerry, and devices that run on the Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 platforms.

Mitek has had the technology to read, OCR and interpret invoices since the late 90s, but the concept of scanning and OCRing bills never took off in a big way. But mobile technology is breathing new life into this capability. The ability to click and pay a bill without having to formally set up an ongoing arrangement with a bank or bill payment provider should be appealing to consumers. An obstacle to online bill payment adoption has been the perceived difficulty of setting up and unwinding accounts.

Mitek is said to be in discussions for the distribution of Mobile Phone Bill Pay with a number of leading banks, integrators of technology solutions and applications services providers for the financial services industry.

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