Mitek Enables More Enterprises to Accept Mobile Photo Payments

Mitek offers mortgage, credit card, utility companies and others a new way to take "friction" out of the customer payment process.

Mitek has introduced Mobile Photo Payments, a new way for large organizations to simplify the way their customers pay their bills.

Anyone who has taken a photo of a check to directly deposit it into a bank account has likely already used Mitek technology—which more than 1,400 banks license. Mitek's new solution puts its technology to work in a new way, enabling customers paying seven types of common bills—major credit cards, store-branded credit cards, student loans, mortgages, mobile phone bills, utility bills and vehicle loans—by snapping a photo of the bill and then a photo of a check or credit card.

The capability is offered as a native iOS or Android app or via the mobile Web—instead of inputting a user name and password, mobile users could potentially just tap a button to choose the photo payments option instead.

"The genesis of our Mobile Bill Pay offering was that … a large national biller came to us and said, 'The top reason people log in is to pay bills, but too many of them can't remember their log-in or password and so we get all of these call center calls,'" Mitek Chief Marketing Officer Scott Carter told eWEEK. "This way, there's zero user names and zero passwords."

Since the Allied Payment Network approached Mitek about using its Photo Bill Pay technology in a Picture Pay app, Allied has seen a 5 to 15 percent month-over-month increase in transactions, as well as interest from a new group of customers. Of those customers who enrolled in Picture Pay, 50 percent weren't even enrolled for online bill payment.

Mitek also offers solutions that can expedite the process of signing up for an account—a typing-heavy process that can deter mobile device users—by photographing a driver license.

"Our mission is to think of ways to stamp out friction in the mobile channel," said Carter. "We want to add instant, anywhere access to what can sometimes be clunky experiences."

Carter added that Mitek's software development kit resides behind the service provider's firewall, and that security is both thoroughly addressed and a key priority.

Mobile Payment Leaders

In mid 2013, Gartner announced that the mobile payments industry was growing more slowly than expected. The firm now expects mobile transaction volume and value to average 35 percent growth between 2012 and 2017, and for the market to be worth $721 billion by 2017, with more than 450 million users.

In an October 2013 report, Javelin Research reported that Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and PayPal/eBay, the "gang of five," threaten to disrupt the mobile payments ecosystem. "When it comes to reach," said the report, "the 'gang of five' considerably crush the top banks."

Of the five, PayPal was named the most trusted brand.

While Apple enables iOS users to make online payments via their iTunes accounts, it doesn't yet offer an in-store payment solution, like Google does with Google Wallet. Apple’s absence is one factor that may have mobile payments growing more slowly than anticipated.

That may change soon. Apple filed a patent Jan. 16 for a secure data payment method. And, according to a Jan. 24 report from The Wall Street Journal, it has moved a vice president in charge of online stores into a new role to "build a payment business," and Senior Vice President of Software and Services Eddy Cue has taken several meetings with executives in the mobile payments industry to discuss Apple's plan.

During Apple's Jan. 27 earnings call, CEO Tim Cook wouldn't say whether Apple has new product or service categories planned for 2014, but told analysts, "I think our customers are going to love what we're going to do."

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