The Rise of the Camera in Mobile Banking

February 27th, 2015

2-27-15-Malauzai.pngWhen was the last time you took a picture with your phone or tablet? Probably pretty recently, right? Now, when was the last time you took a photo with a digital camera? You might have to think a little harder about that one. Smartphone and tablet cameras are in fact becoming so advanced that some experts speculate they will surpass the physically larger and now ubiquitous Digital SLR (DSLR) cameras in a few years. No doubt, mobile devices have become our go-to picture-clicking tools.

As the photo-taking abilities of these devices have improved, mobile banking has seen significant benefits. We are all very aware of how successful mobile check deposit has become. In many ways, mobile check deposit is the killer-feature of mobile banking. Based on Malauzai usage data, we know that 25 percent of active mobile banking users make deposits at least once a month. The mobile camera enables this success, supported by image recognition technology that can easily read a document and convert it into data. Now, the camera is driving new innovations for the mobile channel, including using the camera to simplify the onboarding process and to revolutionize how consumers pay bills.

Imagine opening a new bank account by simply taking a picture of your driver’s license. The typical onboarding process that can take up to 45 minutes at a branch can now take only five to 10 minutes inside the branch. Employees are provided with iPads enabled with advanced cameras, making quick onboarding a reality. Employees can even open accounts outside of the branch and pursue new clients in public places, such as a shopping center or company office. The technology is also being used by virtual mobile-only banks to allow direct customers to open accounts in self-service mode. Prospective customers can download an app, take a picture of their licenses and deposit a check in 15 minutes. This process is enabled by advanced mobile cameras.

Lastly, there is bill pay. When the industry set out to provide bill pay, the initial focus was being able to present bills electronically. This proved to be a challenge, and today paper bills are still in circulation based on some consumer preference, as well as billers that still do not make their bills available electronically. Enter the camera. With mobile photo bill pay, a consumer can take a picture of a bill and immediately make a payment. There is no data manipulation involved in the payment process; just point, click and pay. In a single effort, this solves the biggest problem that exists within bill pay. On average, 15 percent of active mobile banking users utilize mobile photo bill pay to pay bills every month when it is integrated in to their mobile banking app. That is four times higher than traditional bill pay when it is offered as a feature in mobile banking.

People enjoy taking pictures. From opening an account to depositing a check and paying bills, the advanced mobile camera is a driver in establishing mobile banking as the channel of choice for both banks and their customers. As the technology continues to mature, it will only improve. Mobile banking is poised to become the channel of choice for bank customers. As Internet banking stagnates in terms of generating additional revenue, clever usage of the camera is making mobile banking not only good for banks, but fun for consumers. Who said banking wasn’t fun?

rgaynor

Robb Gaynor is chief product officer of Austin, Texas-based Malauzai Software, a provider of mobile banking apps for community financial institutions. You can reach him at robb.gaynor@malauzai.com