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U.S. Bank simplifies in-app check capture as adoption continues to grow

U.S. Bank is opening its mobile vault to a slew of application updates, including expanded money delivery options and an enhanced check-deposit process, paving the way for the implementation of Touch ID functionality later this month.

The financial institution is adding new tools to mobile in a bid to fully cater to its consumers, who are now leveraging their smartphones to complete regular errands more than ever. As U.S. Bank ramps up to incorporate Touch ID into its app this month, it is simplifying the offline banking process with improved functionalities, including the ability to swipe to select or deselect in-app options.

“The more capabilities we have and the more convenient we make it for our customers to enroll in the app and access our services, the more people you’re going to get to come in and use the app,” said Chris Peper, vice president and mobile channel manager at U.S. Bank, Minneapolis, MN.

Capturing customers’ needs
One of the foremost features in the revamped app is the improved and simplified check-depositing experience, which enables consumers to better capture check images with their smartphones’ cameras.

Users can visit the Deposits section of the app, click the “Make Deposit” button and snap a photo of the check, which will automatically input the designated funds into their checking or savings accounts. The first $200 is typically available once the deposit has been processed.

Individuals may also view their deposit history and receive directions on how to use the mobile-first feature, which is quickly becoming a must-have for any major financial institution.

“We’ve found a lot of customers value the opportunity to use the smartphone camera to make check deposits,” Mr. Peper said. “We do continue to see [user] growth even though that capability has been around since 2011.”

Mobile’s effectiveness in the banking sector is becoming indisputable, as deposits of physical checks decline and more consumers to turn to their smartphones for remote deposit capture capabilities, which are projected to account for approximately 50 percent of retail bank deposits this year, according to a report from Celent (see story).

Imaging capabilities have received successful feedback from consumers. U.S. Bank allows users to leverage that technology to complete certain tasks even on Web browsers, underscoring the necessity of providing shortcuts to time-strapped individuals. Photo-enabled bill pay has also been a top mobile tool.

“It’s all about how can you make some of these customer tasks easier through the imaging technology,” Mr. Peper said.

Making room for innovation
The new app version also includes additional delivery options for sending money to family and friends, enabled swiping to select or deselect choices in the Preferences tab and added description to better delineate differences between Account Balance and Available Balance.

These types of features are paramount for any national bank with mobile offerings.

“According to the Federal Reserve Board, 52 percent of smartphone owners participated in mobile banking in 2014, so this is a very hot space,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston. “App features like check capture for deposit, biometric ID verification, and the ability to send money to others are fast-becoming table stakes, especially as mobile-only millennials save more than their parents did and seek new, less cumbersome ways to conduct banking.

“Time is money and mobile banking apps, especially if done well, make traditional banking seem incredibly inefficient.”

Touch ID functionality, which will let U.S. Bank app users sign in more quickly, will be rolled out later this month. Mr. Peper tapped Touch ID as another example displaying how the institution is making tasks more convenient for customers. He claimed that the public is expecting these types of tools to be widely available on any regularly-used app.

Mobile has also made it easier for consumers to apply for new accounts while on-the-go.

Over the summer, U.S. Bank piloted a geolocation-based mobile app to bring community members relevant information and resources, such as local events, promotions, noteworthy news and financial education advice (see story).

At the same time, the institution sought to meet the demands of business customers who wanted faster, more secure payments with an update to its mobile application for commercial card accounts that added more features from the bank’s electronic payment management system (see story).

“[Mobile’s] a great way to connect customers to other products and services in the bank,” Mr. Peper said. “It’s also a great way to connect customers with our call centers and our branches.”