U.S. Bank Makes Mobile Credit Card Play

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. Bank -- the main subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (USB) -- on Monday announced the rollout of another innovative addition to its mobile banking application: Mobile Photo Balance Transfer.

The new service was developed by Mitek (MITK), which is the leading developer of smartphone camera-based mobile banking applications designed to use smartphone cameras to "reduce friction for consumers in the mobile experience," according to the company's head of marketing Scott Carter.

Using the new service, a customer can respond to a balance transfer offer or apply to transfer a credit card balance to U.S. Bank simply by using their smartphone camera to snap a photo of their credit card bill.

The new service will be available to U.S. Bank's customers in November.

"We were one of the first banks in the country to roll out mobile deposit, and it was a great success," says U.S. Bank senior vice president and head of mobile banking Niti Badarinath." The bank rolled out mobile check deposit in 2010, and also rolled out Mitek's Mobile Photo Billpay in March.

All three of these services make use of smartphone cameras to help customers avoid as much data entry as possible. U.S. Bank in January will enhance its mobile platform with the addition of Mitek's MiSnap technology, which simplifies the imaging experience. In order to avoid the possibility of a customer needing to take multiple snapshots of a bill or credit card statement, MiSnap automatically captures a high quality image as the customer hovers the smartphone camera over a document.

Considering the change in consumer behavior, with tablets and smartphones continuing to gain popularity, it behooves any financial services company to offer as many mobile service options as possible. For U.S. Bank, the latest mobile offering could provide a nice boost to the bottom line, if the bank is able to compel significant credit card balance transfer activity.

"We are starting to see 'mobile only' customers, which tend to index to 18 to 34 year olds," says Badarinath. "We are the only bank right now that allows you to completely enroll with a mobile device. Imaging is a very compelling value proposition for us," he says.

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