Mitek Hires GreenDot’s CTO

By Mike Strange, CTO, Mitek Systems


Mitek is extremely well positioned as a leader in mobile imaging, and I am proud to have the opportunity to extend and expand on such a strong foundation. Remote deposit capture (depositing a check by taking photo of it with smartphone or tablet) is just the beginning.  Mitek’s platform and tools can enable individuals to reload prepaid cards, pay bills, manage personal finances, manage documents and much more.

As Mitek’s new Chief Technology Officer I am responsible for driving technological advancement and innovation of our platform, ultimately creating new products and capabilities that will serve both the banked and under-banked industry segments.  I believe Mitek can and will revolutionize financial services for both the banked and under-banked, as the gold standard in mobile imaging.

Mitek: Making life easier, one mobile image at a time…

By James DeBello, CEO Mitek Systems

Convenient. Easy. Instant. Fun. These are some of the words that people use when they deposit checks using their smartphone cameras. What was once a mundane and time-consuming task has actually become an enjoyable process.

This is what Mitek Mobile is about.

As the leader in Mobile Deposit®, we’ve helped hundreds of financial institutions like Chase, US Bank, and many of the top retail banks deliver convenient and innovative Mobile Deposit solutions to their customers. New deployments of this technology are being rolled out every day. In fact, more than 10 billion, yes, 10 BILLION dollars have been deposited from smartphones around the country.

And to think so many people said that this technology wasn’t going to take off.

Forrester recently reported that, “No mobile feature has made as big an impact as quickly as mobileremote deposit capture (RDC)… We believe mobile RDC willsoon be table stakes for direct providers and large, national banks.”

At Mitek, we continue to push the boundaries of what can be done with smartphone images. We have some of the world’s leading mathematicians and software engineers perfecting new technologies to address the complex challenges associated with capturing data from images.

As smartphone and tablet users, we are all consumers of this technology – we’re always asking tough questions and looking toward the future:

  • How can we make other mundane tasks like shopping for car insurance or a better credit card interest rate easy and convenient?
  • How can we provide the 60 million “underbanked” who we know are not “underphoned” with innovative mobile financial solutions – like the mobile check cashing for prepaid card funding announcement we made a few weeks ago?
  • Why should people have to go to a bank, a company, or even sit down at their laptop to perform a task that can be done from their smartphone or tablet?
  • Who wouldn’t rather pay a bill instantly by snapping a few photos with their smartphone than sit down and write out a check?

There are a few ankle-biter companies out there that are trying to compare their technology to Mitek’s but there isn’t a company out there with a patented portfolio of solutions like Mitek, nor the breadth and depth of experience.

We are innovators in the business of anticipating how the smartphone camera can and will be used. With Mitek, think instant, think secure, think accurate, think convenient – and think fun. Stay tuned, we have a lot more coming this year!

Android, iOS now account for 75% of the smartphone market in the US

Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS extended their dominance over the U.S. mobile market in November 2011 and now power a combined 75.6 percent of all smartphones nationwide according to new data published by digital research firm comScore.

Smartphone ownership in the U.S. market reached 91.4 million in November 2011, up 8% from the preceding three-month period. Android devices make up 46.9% of all smartphones across the United States, up 3.1% since August 2011, comScore reports. iOS was the only other mobile platform to exhibit growth during the period, increasing 1.4% over August to capture 28.7% of the national smartphone segment.

Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry continues its slide, dropping another 3.1% points between August and November to make up 16.6% of the market. Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone platform fell from 5.7% in August to 5.2% in November, and Symbian slipped from 1.8% to 1.5%.

ComScore reports that 72.6% of all U.S. mobile subscribers sent text messages in November, up from 70.5% in August. In addition, 44.9% of subscribers used downloaded apps (up from 41.6%), 29.7% played mobile games (up from 28.5%) and 33.0% accessed social networking sites or blogs (up from 30.9%).

Mobile Users Prefer Apps Over Browsers

Mobile users love their apps and that love affair has outstripped their interest in browsers. That’s according to comScore’s latest mobile subscriber data for November, which found that the percentage of users who use apps has finally surpassed the percent of subscribers who turn to a mobile browser.

ComScore said that 44.9 percent of people used apps in November, compared to 44.4 percent who used a browser. That appears to mark the first time since comScore started noting mobile content usage that app usage has surpassed browser usage. Apps have trailed the browser by just a few percentage points for most of the last two years, but people have still preferred the browser until now.

This follows a similar finding from earlier this year from Flurry, which found that minutes spent per day on apps eclipsed that of time spent on a browser for the first time in June. As some of our commenters noted, it doesn’t necessarily mean that HTML5 is waning, and in fact, some apps are built in HTML5 and wrapped with a native shell. But it shows that people’s interest in apps continues to grow, and that there is value for a lot of people in purpose-driven software that can take them directly to what they want or can make better use of their mobile hardware.

According to other comScore data, Android is close to taking a majority of all smartphone users in the U.S., with its market share growing to 46.9 percent in November, up from 43.8 percent in August. Apple also managed to grow to 28.7 percent, up from 27.3 percent in August. The two leaders continue to sap away market share from Research in Motion, which saw its market share decline from 19.7 percent to 16.6 percent over the same period. Microsoft also continues to wait for Windows Phone 7 to begin gaining traction. Its share of the smartphone market in the U.S. declined from 5.7 percent to 5.2 percent.

These two big data points aren’t completely unrelated. Users love their apps and the two most robust app platforms are iOS and Android. As subscribers continue to prize smartphones for their apps, they will increasingly look to the platforms that give them the best quality and selection of mobile software titles. That’s obviously not the only reason to buy a phone, but it shows again why it’s so hard for RIM and Microsoft to hold their own or close the distance on Apple and Google. They must overcome iOS and Android’s app advantage.

Global Mobile Payment Market to Hit 1 Billion Users

IE Market Research, a Canadian telecommunications consultant, estimates that global mobile payments transactions will rise to $1.13 trillion in 2014, a compound annual growth rate of 94.8%.

It found that mobile payments continued growing in 2009 with the total number of users increasing to 351.4 million.

Globally, the researchers expect the number of mobile payment users to rise to 1.06 billion in 2014 for a CAGR of 20.5%. On the transaction value side, the gross value of mobile payments transactions was $37.4 billion in 2009. Mainstream take-up of mobile payments will happen in the 2011 – 2013 time frame, they forecast, and in 2014, the gross value of mobile payment transactions will reach $1.13 trillion.

Closer to home, the researchers expect North American (Canada and the United States) mobile payments to rise to $288.4 billion in 2014, a CAGR of 98.7%. These two countries will account for 25% of the world market share for mobile payments by gross transaction values.

The biggest growth in North America likely will come from ticketing (CAGR of 138%) and digital purchases (CAGR of 120%). The introduction of various devices by Apple has changed the game on consumer acceptance of digital purchases using mobile devices, especially in North America. Surveys suggest that consumers are increasingly comfortable with the use of the mobile device as a payment tool.

While near-field communication transactions in North America will grow faster than in Europe or Asia-Pacific, surveys suggest that the level of acceptance for these is fairly low in North America. The number of NFC transactions in Western Europe was 17.4 times higher than in North America.

Mobile Deposit Adoption Grows

The number of institutions that use Mitek Systems’ Mobile Deposit solution continues to grow. It seems that customers have gotten a lot more cozy with their mobile devices since Chase made a splash with remote checking — and it seems competing financial-services companies are now starting to catch up with their own high-tech options.

E*Trade will launch remote check deposits on the iPhone in December and on Android devices early next year. The online brokerage follows its larger rival, Charles Schwab, which started offering the feature on both devices earlier this year. The nation’s biggest bank, Bank of America, is reportedly readying to roll out mobile deposits early in 2012, and ING Direct, which has been teasing customers by hinting at a launch date all year, says it has developers working on the app but cannot disclose an estimated time of arrival. In case you are not familiar with the Mobile Deposit, it is the Gold Standard mobile remote deposit capture feature that runs through mobile applications, developed by Mitek Systems and allows customers to deposit money into their accounts just by snapping a photo of a check using a smartphone. It’s quick, it’s revolutionary, and it’s starting to gain some serious traction

Although not the first to dip into the growing pool of app-based deposits, JPMorgan Chase is the first of the four big U.S. banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo.Chase’s app, which followed less than a dozen others in the financial world, most notably USAA Bank’s in 2009, has seen a sharp uptick in demand this year as consumers become even more reliant on their smartphones. The app, which allows deposits of up to $2,000 daily and $5,000 monthly, has seen $1.5 billion in remote deposits since the start of 2011, and some $2.03 billion in deposits since it launched in mid-2010. The Wall Street bank was recently named “Best in Class” for mobile banking 2011 by Javelin Strategy and Research, beating out 24 of the largest retail banking financial institutions by deposits. The award highlighted its QuickDeposit and QuickPay services, the latter allows person-to-person transfers over the phone.

Meanwhile, the move by E*Trade, a New York-based online brokerage, is especially notable because customers currently have to mail a check or use direct deposit or transfer or wire money from an alternative account. Unlike Chase and BofA, which have thousands of branches around the country, E*Trade only has 28. Under E*Trade’s new app feature, investors will be able to add as much as $10,000 a day from any location, which is more than Chase, as long as they have a connection to the Internet.“From personal experience, this speeds up the entire process,” said Eric Johnson, a manager in the company’s mobile products division. Prior to remote checking, “I’d often leave checks in my wallet waiting to drop it off at a branch, or leave it on my desk, waiting to take the time to fill out a deposit slip and mail it in,” he said.

Besides the convenience it gives to customers, E*Trade says launching the innovative feature attracts customers and increases the chances they’ll use its other products. “We’ve found as customers become more connected, they become more engaged, which over time we believe has a positive impact on customer retention,” Johnson said. Today, close to 17% of all E*Trade’s unique logins are on one of its mobile platforms, and more than 3% only use mobile apps to access their E*Trade account, the company said.E*Trade will soon expand its app to include other features such complex options trading and mutual fund trading, the company said. E*Trade isn’t the first major brokerage to offer such a feature — Charles Schwab beat it to the punch earlier this year in an effort to reach skyrocketing demand for high-tech mobile features.

In a Schwab survey of 2,000 customers taken just before the summer, some 69% of Americans ages 18 to 44 showed interest in depositing checks using a mobile phone, citing convenience as the primary reason. According to that same Schwab poll, some 35% of Americans in that age group have used their smartphone for banking or investing activities, and most prefer to do so on their own time, particularly while at home, on vacation or during the weekend. When it launched the app this past summer, the E*Trade rival touted it was “one of the only financial services firms to provide its clients with integrated mobile deposit capabilities for both bank and brokerage accounts.”

On the consumer’s end it’s simple. A banker downloads an app that supports this service on their phone: Chase Mobile, Schwab Mobile, USAA Mobile or E*Trade Mobile Pro, among others.For Chase and E*Trade’s services, clients select which account they would like to deposit the funds, enter the deposit amount, take a photo of the front and back of the endorsed check, and hit “submit.” “Within 20 seconds you’re done,” Johnson said. The deposited checks immediately become void once accepted – and while E*Trade recommends customers retain checks for 45 days for their records, they technically can be destroyed once the transaction goes through. The system works similar to something called electronic check conversion, which is a term used to describe a process in which a check is simply used as a source of information, rather than the actual form of payment, according to the Federal Reserve. When a customer snaps a photo of a check, the system reads the check number, account number, and the number that identifies the financial institution. The information is used to make a one-time electronic payment from an account, which is called an electronic fund transfer, the Fed Reserve says.

While the entire process may only take a few seconds from the customer’s point of view, the deposits are still subject to standard hold times, just like a regular check. For E*Trade, if the deposit was made to a bank account, the first $200 would be made available for withdrawal immediately, then the next $4,800 would be available on the second day, with the remaining funds appearing on the fifth business day. For brokerage deposits, the funds will be available for investing on the fifth business day after posting to the account.

Read more:

The History of Smartphones

Mobile Banking Continues to Grow

Research indicates that 32.5 million Americans accessed mobile banking information on their devices at the end of June, representing 13.9% of all mobile users, according to comScore, Inc. The study also revealed that 12.7 million mobile users reported using banking apps, showing a notable increase of 45% from the end of last year.

“The investments in mobile made by financial services institutions, along with the continued growth in smartphone adoption, have had a truly positive effect on the use of mobile financial services,” says Sarah Lenart, comScore vice-president for Marketing Solutions. “New apps and mobile-enhanced sites have made it easier for customers to seek out financial information using mobile devices. With tablets and other web-enabled connected devices gaining popularity in addition to smartphones, financial service institutions are poised for additional growth in mobile access.”

Nearly 14% of the total U.S. mobile audience (32.5 million users) accessed mobile banking services in June 2011, up 21% from the fourth quarter of 2010. Mobile credit card services saw an even greater increase, with 18.4 million mobile users accessing credit card information, up 23%. Mobile auto and property insurance services also exhibited strong gains as 7.2 million mobile users accessed insurance information on their devices—a 19% increase.

With the steady growth in smartphone adoption over the past year, the use of apps to access mobile financial information has grown as well. In particular, mobile banking and credit card app usage have seen sizeable increases. 12.7 million mobile users reported having used a banking app in June (up 45%), while 6 million users used a credit card app (up 43%).

An analysis of credit card customers’ engagement with various account channels shows users reporting more frequent access through mobile channels than fixed-line computers, with 62% of credit card customers reported using an app to visit a bank’s web site at least once a week, and 52% percent reported checking in with the same frequency via a mobile browser. In comparison, only 34% of users responded checking into their accounts with the same frequency from a fixed-line computer.

Generational Differences w/ Technology Usage

Older workers are generally less confident in using technology in the workplace. There is a distinct generational gap in the use of technology in America. Young people are experts at using various types of technology, while their older counterparts often struggle to keep up with each new technological offering. According to the Technology Gap Survey performed by Lexis Nexis and WorldOne Research, 57 percent of business and legal professionals indicate their workplace has a defined generation gap in technology usage.

White-collar professionals often are required to use email to some extent during their workday. However, it is evident that a generation gap exists in email usage. The Lexis Nexis Technology Gap Survey indicated that baby boomers (age 47 and older, as of 2011) use email 27 percent less than Generation X workers (ages 32 to 46) and 39 percent less than Generation Y workers (ages 31 and younger).

Instant Messaging:
Instant messaging is a useful tool in the workplace, because it has been found to reduce the amount of time consumed by distractions, according to “Science Daily.” However, the Lexis Nexis survey indicates a distinct generation gap in the usage of this technology. The survey reports that baby boomers use instant messaging 57 percent less than Generation X workers and 68 percent less than Generation Y workers.

Laptop computers generally are considered to be a more advanced technology than traditional desktop models. The Lexis Nexis survey indicates a generation gap in the use of laptop computers. The survey shows that baby boomers use desktop computers for all of their computing needs 12 percent more than Generation X workers and 22 percent more than Generation Y workers.

Mobile Phones and Smartphones:
Mobile phones and smartphones are common items in today’s technology-driven society. Research conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that, as of 2011, 83 percent of Americans own a cellphone or a smartphone. However, in the workplace, a generation gap is clearly evident. The Lexis Nexis survey shows that baby boomers use a mobile phone (not a smartphone) in the workplace 36 percent less than Generation X workers and 67 percent less than Generation Y workers. Baby boomers use a smartphone in the workplace 35 percent less than Generation X workers and 73 percent less than Generation Y workers.

How We Use Smartphones

This lovely infographic from Tatango was created by using a range of data culled via the Pew Research Centers, Internet and American Life Project. It shows how the smartphones are being used today in USA.