Bank of the West joined a select group of banks offering bill pay using the smartphone camera today.
The feature, dubbed Scan to Pay, was built by Fiserv (which internally calls it Snap to Pay) with technology licensed from Top Image Systems (TIS). Bank of the West is the first bank to go live with the Fiserv product.
San Francisco-based Bank of the West began piloting the feature in October 2014. It launched a remote deposit capture solution for checks back in 2009, according to Jamie Armistead, executive vice president of digital channels.
“Image processing is done on the device,” Armistead said, referring to Scan to Pay. “It’s not reaching out to the cloud.” Staying on-device makes the process faster, and potentially safer, he said.
Capturing bills is more involved than capturing checks, Armistead said, because they vary so much in size and location of important data points, such as amount due and account number. Some credit card bills don’t even include the biller name, and are instead addressed to generic locations such as “Payment Processing Center.”
The service currently targets consumers and small businesses, with a program for invoices and other business documents in the works. Also on the roadmap is more in-depth syncing with Quickbooks and other accounting software.
Mobile bill pay customers tend to be more active online and carry higher balances, Armistead said, making them highly desirable customers. A product such as Scan to Pay can serve as a differentiator between Bank of the West and competitors, but when it becomes pervasive, it may also reduce the stickiness of bill pay for mobile customers.
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