5 Bold Mobile Banking Predictions for 2014 From Mitek

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) --  Mitek Systems has seen incredible customer and revenue growth this year, and the company expects this growth to accelerate during 2014.

Mitek is the leading developer of smartphone camera-based mobile banking applications designed to make it easy for consumers to use mobile banking applications with as little data entry as possible.  The company this year added to its Mobile Deposit application by rolling out Mobile Photo Billpay, which was adopted by U.S. Bancorp's main subsidiary U.S. Bank, NA in March.  This service allows a customer of a bank that has a mobile banking system simply to photograph a bill, with the bank doing everything else to get the bill paid.

Mitek rolled out its Mobile Photo Account Opening in September, and in October began offering a Mobile Photo Balance Transfer service, which is also being adopted by U.S. Bank, NA.  This latest service allows bank customers to use their smartphone camera to respond to a credit card balance transfer offer, with minimal data entry. 

Mitek reported that revenue for its fiscal 2013 increased 63% from a year earlier, to $14.8 million, while the number of banks signed up for Mobile Deposit grew to 1,420 from 564  a year earlier.  As of Sept. 30, 805 banks had "gone live" with the mobile service, increasing from 205 banks in September 2012.  The company's client base includes all of the top 10 U.S. banks.

Looking ahead, the company on Tuesday released a set of predictions for 2014, that Mitek head of marketing Scott Carter says are designed "to help our customers get ahead of the market.  We find when speaking with our clients that they are constantly back on their heels, reacting to what consumers expect in the mobile space."

Here are the five predictions, along with commentary from Carter:


Financial institutions will start to market to mobile-only users.

"We've gotten to the point where not proving access to mobile deposit is analagous to not providing consumer access through an ATM," according to Carter.  There are plenty of consumers who rely on smartphones and tablets for communication, shopping and bill paying, while shunning PCs.

"There is a transition among the younger demographic, as well as underbanked or lower income consumers, who tend to rely on mobile devices. There is also a segment of young and affluent consumers who want to do everything on their mobile devices," according to Carter.

Simplified mobile enrollment will more than double completion rates.

"I was speaking with a bank the other day, and they told me only 13% of their customers who initiate account opening via non-Mitek applications, actually complete the process," Carter says.  "This bank and a number of other clients seem almost to discourage mobile accont opening."

Mitek describes some mobile account opening procedures as "notoriously cumbersome process of trying to type on a tiny touch screen."  While that might lead one to complain about the entire smartphone market moving away from real keyboards, there's no indication that the keyboards are coming back.  Using a smartphone camera to capture data needed to open an account, including identification documents and a check to make an initial deposit, takes a way much of the pain, with most data entry only being needed if the customer needs to make a correction.

Mobile Deposit will be the preferred way to load prepaid cards and deposit checks.

It's obvious that a convenient prepaid debit card becomes rather inconvenient if the customer has to travel to a bank branch or to a store in order to load the card with money.  "Popular mobile services like Mobile Deposit are decreasing traffic to ATMs, pre-paid reloading locations and branch offices," Carter says.