Allied Payment Network and Malauzai Software plan to use video and chat to develop new mobile payment methods.
"We see a lot of new functions for the coming months," said Steve Reich, chief sales officer of Malauzai during an online seminar hosted by the two companies March 26. "We see video chats and voice being used a lot more in mobile. A lot of these mobile devices have technology that allows you to use voice command, which is easier than doing everything by hand."
Several other companies have already implemented voice controls with their financial apps, and new mobile devices such as the Google Glass headset rely heavily on voice commands.
U.S. Bank lets customers use voice to control mobile banking and payments services. The Minneapolis bank is using technology from Nuance, which sells a mobile voice recognition technology called "Nina." E-Trade added voice commands to its mobile app in 2012, saying such a feature would be "almost expected" by customers familiar with Apple's Siri. USAA has also experimented with voice recognition.
More recently, ING Direct Canada has explored the use of voice commands for smartwatch apps. Voice commands could be useful in situations where the watch is accessible but the user's hands are otherwise occupied, such as while driving a car, ING says.
Allied and Malauzai offer an app uses a smartphone's camera to scan details from a bill to initiate a payment. The product operates either as a standalone app or integrates with the institution's mobile banking app. The companies charge monthly user fees, setup and transaction fees.
By using a phone's camera, the vendors say they can take away some of the tedium associated with initiating payments online.
"Consumers don't like setting up payees. They have to figure out the address, phone number, account number, etc.," said Bill Schepp, sales and marketing director for Allied Payment Network.
Allied and Malauzai say mobile photo bill pay improves retention. During their presentation, the companies cited one bank user, First Financial Bankshares, a $5 billion bank near Abilene, Texas, that reported its retention rate for bill payers increased to 98% from 89% inside the first year of using mobile photo bill payment.
"We also found that a lot of the people who used the product did not use online bill payment, for all the reasons we have discussed, such as usability," Reich says.