Last month, the $780 million 3Rivers Federal Credit Union of Fort Wayne, Ind., became the nation’s first credit union to launch Picture Pay, a mobile photo bill payment solution that generated industry buzz earlier this year at Finovate in San Francisco.
In addition to enabling 3Rivers to fulfill members’ desire for a simple mobile bill pay solution, Picture Pay could help increase mobile adoption and member satisfaction, said Kevin Schull, chief information officer. Currently, 17% of checking account holders at the 67,000-member credit union utilize mobile platforms, but Schull said he hopes Picture Pay will boost those numbers.
“Mobile adoption continues to dramatically increase among our members, but we really had a void in our mobile platform,” he said. “Picture Pay’s ease of use and convenience for members seems to be exactly what we need and what our members want.”
During the first three weeks after launching the new service, Schull said about 175 members paid a total of more than $55,000 in bills using 3Rivers Picture Pay.
“One of the interesting things we’ve noticed is that a lot of members are using it to pay medical bills, which is not something we typically see with online and mobile banking,” he said.
To encourage members to utilize the new service, 3Rivers has created an online mobile bill pay guide and video tutorial, which are posted on its website. Plus, Schull said the credit union has trained staff to assist with hands-on demonstrations in branches.
Picture Pay was developed by Allied Payment Network of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Malauzai Software of Austin, Tex., using imaging software powered by Mitek’s Mobile Photo Bill Pay technology.
The technology has come a long way in a short time. At the Money2020 show in Las Vegas last October, JimDeBello, president/CEO of San Diego-based Mitek, said a photo bill pay solution was almost ready to launch. Now, the technology seems poised to blast off.
Schull said Picture Pay address concerns expressed by some members about other payment options, such as traditional online and mobile bill pay systems, which require users to enter each payee or complete other time-consuming tasks.
“Instead of having to sit down at a computer and login to online banking or having to enter each payee’s information using a tiny keyboard on a mobile device, members can now simply take a pic of a bill, key in the amount and date, and it’s done in a snap,” he said. ”This is about making our members’ lives easier.”
Ralph Marcuccilli, CEO of Allied Payment Network, said 3Rivers is at the forefront of technology and convenience among credit unions, and being the first credit union in the nation to offer Picture Pay technology further positions it as a market leader and competitor against larger financial institutions.
Paying bills by snapping a photo is growing in popularity, even surpassing usage of mobile bill pay for some institutions, he said.
“Picture Pay helps to overcome the biggest hurdle to mobile banking, which is that data entered with a small keyboard and viewed with a small screen is error prone,” he said.
Providing expedited payments through Picture Pay can be a revenue generator for credit unions that charge a fee for the service, he said. He added that case studies have reported that 3% percent of payments are expedited.