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US Bank leverages mobile cameras to simplify bill payments

The mobile photo bill pay service will launch early next year. It is the latest example of how banks are looking for new services to expand their mobile strategies as customers embrace the convenience of mobile banking.

“U.S. Bank has consistently been a leader in innovative banking services and after receiving extremely positive customer feedback in response to their mobile deposit service, which is powered by Mitek, they saw an opportunity to take the lead in offering Mitek’s Mobile Photo Bill Pay,” said Jim DeBello, CEO of Mitek Systems, San Diego.

“With billions of dollars deposited via smartphones and tablets, consumers have proven they love the convenience, the simplicity and the fun of Mobile Deposit and Mitek is now bringing that convenience to paying bills, anytime, anywhere,” he said.

Extracting relevant information
U.S. Bank, which is the fifth largest bank in the United States, is partnering with Mitek Systems to offer the firm’s patent-pending Mobile Photo Bill Pay product to the bank’s customers. The bank will be the first leading financial institution to offer this new service to customers, per Mitek.

By enabling customers to snap a picture of their paper bill using a mobile device, this eliminates the need to manually enter biller and payment information. As a result, paying bills directly from a mobile device is more convenient and easy to use for customers.

The technology automatically extracts relevant information from a paper bill and auto-populates the fields required to make a mobile payment. The user then schedules a payment and clicks “pay.”

In addition to being able to add a new payee to their online bill pay service, users can also pay one-time or non-recurring bills as well as set up recurring bills and payments via their mobile device.

A significant differentiator
The mobile photo bill pay solution builds on Mitek’s mobile deposit technology, which is being used by millions of consumers to make billions of dollars in deposits, according to the company.

U.S. Bank was an early adopter and leader in mobile banking and was one of the first banks to offer a mobile check deposit features in 2010. It also piloted a contactless payment solution in 2008.

The financial institution says that it will continue to invest strongly in mobile innovation as it heads into 2013.

“Customers rely on their camera-equipped mobile device to easily complete tasks that previously were considered complex or tedious,” Mr. DeBello said. “Users simply snap a picture of their bills using their smartphone or tablet to add a new payee and schedule and make bill payments; all without the need to write a check or type payment information.

“Mobile Photo Bill Pay has the potential to spur greater bill pay market adoption and be a significant differentiator for banks,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York