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ING Direct Canada taps mobile to simplify check deposits

Since ING Direct Canada does not have any physical locations, consumers previously had to deposit checks by finding an ATM or mailing them in. In addition to the check deposit feature, ING Direct Canada is also using mobile in a couple of other unique ways with social media and voice recognition.

“The strategy and the rationale behind everything we do is about simplicity and convenience for our customers – this has always been our philosophy,” said Charaka Kithulegoda, chief information officer at ING Direct Canada, Toronto.

“We believe that every interaction has to be simple, transparent and relevant,” he said. “When it comes to mobile, it is a great place for us to build on those principles.”

ING Direct Canada claims to be Canada’s largest direct bank with more than 1.8 million clients and $40 billion in total assets.

How it works
The mobile banking app is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Windows 8 tablets, Android phone and tablet, as well as on BlackBerry and BB10 devices.

Consumers who have downloaded the app are able to log-in to their account and select the option to upload a picture of their check via the app’s built-in camera.

Users are then prompted to take a picture of the front-and-back of a check and select an account to deposit the funds to. Consumers can also double-check the amount that the check is for before it is automatically placed into the consumer’s account.

Bank on mobile
ING Direct Canada cites a recent survey from the company that found that 55 percent of Canadians deposit at least one check per month to their bank account, showing how mobile can play a key role in keeping users engaged with a mobile app.

Additionally, more than one-third of Canadians polled are interested in doing more of their traditional banking via their mobile devices, particularly the 18-34 year-old age group. Fifty-seven percent of these younger consumers said that they would be interested in using their mobile devices for managing their finances.

ING Direct Canada has been in the mobile space for roughly two years and has recently used the medium in a couple of unique ways to simplify the banking experience for consumers.

Most recently, the bank rolled out a mobile app that syncs with Facebook to let consumers access their account information while on the go (see story).

ING Direct Canada is also running some pilots that incorporate voice and facial recognition with mobile to make it easier for consumers to manage their finances while on the go.

According to Mr. Kithulegoda, the brand has noticed that as the product lifecycle gets shorter, it is getting harder to establish brand affinity with consumers via mobile.

“Our philosophy is that we cannot say, ‘Use the x, y or z app for mobile banking,’” Mr. Kithulegoda said.

“Consumers are coming to us and saying that x, y or z is the form that I want to use, and your banking experience better be complete for me on that platform,” he said.

“Give the consumer what they want, when they want and how they want it.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York