Mitek Systems is ready to officially roll out its Mobile Photo Payments technology, allowing consumers to use a smartphone or tablet camera to snap photos of bills, checks or payment cards to initiate a payment.

Mitek is first making Mobile Photo Payments available to national billers and targeting consumers who fall into the category of "mobile-only cohorts" who rarely pay bills in the traditional fashion, says Scott Carter, chief marketing officer for San Diego, Calif.-based Mitek.

A major telecommunications company will be one of the first to use Mobile Photo Payments, but Carter would not name the company at this time.

Consumers using Mobile Photo Payments will not need to key in passwords or other billing information on their smartphones or tablets. "We view the camera as a keyboard in this case" because the software automatically fills in the information, Carter says.

The product launch follows Mitek's receiving a patent for mobile bill-pay imaging software in November.

In the past, Mitek has concentrated on serving retail banks by using mobile imaging to deposit checks and open new accounts. Feedback from the banks and research companies indicated a demand for a product like Mobile Photo Payments, Carter says.

Many younger consumers are not active users of other bill-paying services or methods, meaning they have established a recurring habit of using their mobile devices to make payments, Carter says.

Even consumers who pay bills online are receptive to changing their habits, he says.

"Consumers have told us the main reason they go on a biller's website is to pay a bill, but the navigation isn't always intuitive and they have to remember usernames, passwords and log-in credentials," Carter says. Such a process leads to abandonment, he adds.

Mitek provides the biller with a software development kit to establish photo payment acceptance, he says. Mitek can also host the service for a biller, he adds.

The consumer billing data is protected through the individual biller's security systems, and Mitek considers its mobile payment system to be a more secure channel than alternatives, Carter says.

"With a mobile device, you have extra security layers built in, such as device location technology," Carter adds.

National billers are likely to view Mobile Photo Payments in the same manner a bank would view mobile banking, says Scott Strumello of New York- and London-based Auriemma Consulting Group.

"They don't see mobile as a stand-alone strategy," Strumello says. "They want it as another channel to interact and be where their customers want them to be."

Younger consumers are a logical target because they don't always have access to computers on a regular basis, but they "multi-task in using their phones to pay bills while waiting to do something else," Strumello adds.

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