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U.S. Bank taps augmented reality for ATM locator app

U.S. Bank is piloting a new augmented reality app that enables users to easily find and access information about the closest U.S. Bank branch or ATM.

The financial institution is using the app to experiment with augmented reality and location-based services as it looks to lay the groundwork to introduce customized offers and other geotargeted experiences going forward. The new U.S. Bank Find US+ application for iPhone app is being piloted by the bank’s employees.

“As our customers become more mobile, the ability to talk to them when they are out and about and show them offers that are relevant to them is ultimately where a lot of marketing is going,” said Brian Koehler, senior vice president of payment innovation, U.S. Bank, Minneapolis, MN.

“In order for us to move down that path, we have to first connect customers to things that are relevant to banking, such as the branches and ATMs,” he said. “Then we can extend from there to offers that are tangential.

“We view it as a way to connect our customers with a more intimate experience with the bank.”

Look and find
The new Find US+ app merges the real world with a digital experience. When a phone loaded with the app is pointed in a specific direction, the phone displays a computer-generated graphic for each nearby U.S. Bank branch or ATM, its address and distance based on the user’s GPS location.

The graphics are color-coded to reflect whether the location is open, closing in an hour or closed.

“Location-based services are one of those things that we feel we need to learn about,” Mr. Koehler said. “Whether or not it becomes a huge trend that we put more into is still to be determined.

“The app is a good place for us to start,” he said.

There is also a street view that uses the iPhone’s camera.

When the camera lens is directed down the street at eye level, the user’s screen displays all U.S. Bank branches and ATMs within view. It also provides walking directions.

When the user is in sight of a branch or ATM, images captured through the camera, such as the U.S. Bank logo, trigger digital animation to enhance the experience.

Users can also narrow the field of locations displayed by “drive-up ATM only” or “open locations only.”

The app recognizes when a user arrives at the destination and asks if additional information is requested.

App happy
U.S. Bank has been actively introducing new mobile apps this year, including the Instant Line Access app for iPad, which enables customers to apply for and, if approved, receive on-the-spot credit to begin making purchases and earning rewards.

The bank has also developed apps that enable retailer partners such as REI to process credit card applications.

“There is a lot that is happening because our customers have higher expectations around mobile,” Mr. Koehler said. “You cannot do everything on one app because speed to market is crucial.

“We could see the augmented reality locator at some point being integrated in some of the other apps out there,” he said.