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I could not resist, so this is the second blog in the “Is-Dead” series where last blog we looked at the desktop and Internet Banking. This week, we will ruminate on Picture Pay, the mobile bill pay service where you take pictures of bills rather than enter “payee” details manually. There was an interesting article that ran in a major financial publication just recently questioning the value of Picture Pay or photo bill pay as it is also called. Stalwart industry pundits from important places such as research vendors were pontificating that possibly the capability is challenged and “dead-on-arrival”. I have the utmost respect for industry analysts who write well, can read surveys and have spent limited time actually working for a bank or credit union. That said, I prefer to look at factual history and usage data when I consider the impact Picture Pay has had on the industry.

First to Market
This is about innovation. FFIN Bank in Abilene, TX was the first bank or credit union in the nation to launch Picture Pay now approaching 2 years ago. Using the Allied Payment Network solution, Malauzai has over a dozen community financial institutions on Picture Pay, one of which launched it as a stand-alone application. FFIN garnered a bit of fame for being first but most important, their chief of Digital, Jeff Casey, was given an award for being one of the most innovative bankers in the country, the only community bank to get this award, called the “Elite-Eight”. Launching Picture Pay is about setting a market standard for innovation and putting the large money-center banks on notice that community financial institutions can out innovate them in the mobile channel.

Volume is Exponentially Growing
This is about usage and effectiveness. Based on actual usage of Picture Pay, this is what we know. Transaction volumes are increasing by over 80% year over year for banks and credit unions live a minimum of 12 months. The value of payments has increased 25% and the number of payments per end-user has increase by 40% all in the past 12 months as people get used to using the new capability. In terms of effectiveness, we also see staggering results. In some cases, our rate of image acceptance is HIGHER for Picture Pay then it is for Remote Check Deposit and can hover around 70%. This great acceptance rate is due to the fact that Allied Payment Network has a unique solution that allows them to very rapidly, and at scale, correct the bills and the payee data. This means that what the end-user sees is a very high rate of image acceptance, and the entire front-end solution has been built to make it a very seamless process for the end-user.

So… Picture Pay is not only alive it is thriving. People don’t want to set up payees, they don’t even know what a payee is, that is a bank term. Bill pay is NOT a popular feature – on average only one in four, yes 25% of a typical community financial institution can convince their Internet banking customers/members to use bill pay. Big banks may claim they have more bill pay users, but I question those statistics. And we track traditional bill pay usage in the mobile platform and shockingly only 4% of active mobile banking users make payments through traditional bill pay on a monthly basis. Picture Pay solves the single biggest problem we have with bill pay and it does it in a way that is effective and drives innovation. Call your ambulance driver and cancel, as Picture Pay is ALIVE!!!

Robb Gaynor, Chief Product Officer Malauzai Software robb.gaynor@malauzai.com