BBVA Compass has been fast to flesh out the payments capabilities of its mobile banking app, and this work has attracted a growing and engaged mobile customer base.

"The mobile channel has been a critical part of our growth in the U.S.," says Alex Carriles, director of subservice channels at BBVA Compass. "Our logins [to the mobile app] have grown in the past year by over 51%; the number of payments issued via the mobile app has grown by 76.2%. Those using the [mobile] app are using it more to make payments."

BBVA Compass added Mitek's mobile photo bill pay service when the technology became available in November 2013. This service uses a smartphone's camera to read the picture of the paper bill and auto-populate the fields required to make a payment. Mitek also supports mobile remote check deposit, which BBVA has offered since 2009.

The bill-pay feature is a good fit for customers dealing with one-off statements, such as certain types of hospital bills, Carriles says. In a 30 day period, close to 50% of mobile banking users had issued one payment, 29% had issued two and 6% had issued between six and 10 payments, he says.

"Users see true value in [the mobile] channel so they'll be going to that channel more often," Carriles says.

Mitek is also working to implement its imaging technology for retail payments. Kony, and enterprise mobility company is testing the technology.

"We've benefitted from having worked with a pretty good number of adopters…so we have an aggregated view of what's happening in the market," says Scott Carter, chief marketing officer at Mitek.

Mitek's clients also include U.S. Bank, First Financial and City Bank of Texas.

"One customer told us that 50% of photo bill pay users are not using the online bill pay offering…suggesting that it's a substitution rather than just a complement to online bill pay services," Carter says. 

BBVA Compass expects the mobile photo bill pay feature will create an increased appetite for demand deposit accounts and allow the bank to collect new fees, according to Carriles' presentation slides for the BAI Payments Connect 2014 conference in Las Vegas. 

BBVA Compass estimates mobile photo bill pay's adoption rate will increase 6% in the first year, 15% in the second year and 16% in the third.

A customer will pay on average 30 bills a year with mobile photo bill pay. Of those payments an estimated 3.25% of users who would pay an average $15 expedited fee, according to BBVA Compass.

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