Though much legitimate attention now is paid to communications methods such as near field communications or barcode scanning as a way of enabling mobile payments or other financial transactions, image capture might be getting much more attention for a wide range of banking and payment operations.
PayPal, for example, has acquired card.io, a San Francisco-based company that provides technology for developers to capture credit card information by using the camera on a smart phone.
And virtually all the leading U.S. banks now are using or adopting image capture technologies that allow a mobile phone camera to take a picture of a financial record as part of a transaction, says Jim DeBello, Mitek Systems CEO. Depositing a check remotely is one example of how image capture can be used to facilitate a transaction.
For any consumer, the value is pretty simple and obvious: a check deposit can be made remotely, with no need to go to a physical location, stand in line and wait to make the deposit.
Insurance companies are interested in image capture for similar reasons of convenience, but perhaps more for creating instant rate quotes for consumers who snap a picture of their driver's license and auto vehicle identification number, and get an automated rate quote, for example.
Many retailers also may want to use image capture to allow users to make remote payments, as they now use electronic banking services. In other cases, a retailer might want to enable use of image capture for providing an instant quote to a potential customer.
A consumer might be able to take a picture of a current credit card statement and then have a potential new supplier make an automatic quote for switching the account.
Some 60 million U.S. consumers have a checking account, but use no other banking services, says DeBello. That means it might be possible to encourage those users to adopt new services, or use new products, if doing so were as easy as taking a picture.
Perhaps a prepaid mobile user could take a picture of an existing prepaid card and add more value to the account.
For virtually any company that normally has to process large amounts of paper, the image capture capability could streamline transactions of many types.
Monday, July 30, 2012
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