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US Bank credit card applications jump 50pc in mobile test


U.S. Bank saw a 50 percent jump in credit card application approvals for a test with the Minnesota Twins of a new mobile application that leverages the camera on an iPad to speed up the process. 

The test, which enabled fans attending the Major League Baseball team’s games at Target Field in Minneapolis to easily apply for a U.S. Bank-issued Twins Rewards Master Card, also improved the accuracy of collected data, offered tighter security compared with on-paper applications and reduced the number of applications filled out with false information.

“One of the problems with credit card applications at events is the reluctance to stop what you’re doing to enroll through the paper process,” said Chris Peper, vice president of mobile channel management at U.S. Bank, a unit of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp.

“If you are at a Twins game, see an offer for a Twins MasterCard and you want to apply, we can enroll that fan using the camera on an iPad for the data entry instead of keying in information or filling out forms at the ball park.

“It’s easier, faster, more accurate and more reliable,” he said. “The technology improves an applicant’s experience by eliminating the need to write or type in much of the required information and allows them to quickly get back to enjoying the event.”

Speeding up applications
Co-created with mobile imaging solutions provider Mitek, the test stemmed from U.S. Bank’s determination to do something about the numerous improperly filled out forms it was receiving.

Starting in June, Twins employees stationed across Target Field stadium used a mobile application to scan applicants’ driver’s licenses, giving applicants the opportunity to verify or add to the information.

By taking the camera function and scanning the driver’s license, the bank could extract much of the important information needed for a credit card application.

That ability sped up the process for users while helping field associates do their jobs more effectively.

The application was then processed normally, using the same criteria for approval as for other applicants.

U.S. Bank has used photo imaging in a number of banking services, such as enabling customers to deposit a check into their account by snapping a picture of it with their phone.

Remote deposit capture has been widely embraced by other banks, with Mitek reporting that more than 12 million mobile users have made a deposit via their devices, adding up to more than $40 million in deposits.

Late last year, U.S. Bank began letting bankers take advantage of credit card balance transfer offers using the camera on their smartphones or tablets. At the same time, a bank executive told Mobile Commerce Daily that the bank had intentionally invested in imaging capabilities to maintain a leadership position in photo banking.

With consumers embracing mobile banking, financial organizations are exploring new ways to extend its reach. Credit card applications are one strategy that has been quickly gaining steam this year.

Immersive browsing
Mobile devices already account for 55 percent of Internet usage in the United States, according to Comscore.

As surfing the Web from a smartphone and tablet continues to become the norm, having a merely adequate mobile presence is not enough. Companies need to provide an immersive mobile browsing experience rivaling traditional desktop-based browsing. 

“Consumers today are used to seeing marketing messages on their mobile phones, but increasingly they expect to be able to act on the marketing and information presented to them without putting down their smartphone or tablet,” Mr. Peper said.

“The photo account opening pilot this summer was an opportunity to show the effectiveness of mobile in actually opening new accounts for the customer as part of an omnichannel experience – the last step of marketing, if you will.

“Since more than half of customers are actively shopping on a smartphone today, this is an important capability,” he said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.