Thought Leadership

Banks and Credit Unions Find Numerous Benefits With Optical Content Recognition

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April 30, 2019
Banks and Credit Unions Find Numerous Benefits With Optical Content Recognition
By Bryan Adler

Financial services companies and their partners are doing everything we can to improve user experience. Purveyors of technology, banks and credit unions have created applications and services for customers to manage their financial life on their mobile phones; some have gone as far as being able to ‘Ask Alexa.’ But when we’re collecting all the necessary information from new customers or existing borrowers, is there anything we can do to make it easier to fill in all those forms – particularly on mobile?

Absolutely! That’s where a technology known as OCR (Optical Content Recognition) comes into play. Simply put, OCR software translates data from an image into text. Think about the power of that application.

When you look at the daunting task of document collection in originating a loan or opening a deposit account, how do you make it as painless as possible for the customer? Many of the fintechs you’re competing with do it very easily, all by using the camera built into the customer’s mobile phone. If you look at the Forbes Top 50 in Fintech, you’ll find more than a few lenders that are leveraging this approach. Not only does OCR make deposit account or loan applications in mobile banking apps streamline the process for customers, but it also makes it easier for the bank or credit union as well, particularly in terms of fewer input errors. Instead manually entering in a Driver’s License Number, name and address, they can simply snap a photo of their driver’s license. The mobile application will then run the image through OCR software to pull out the appropriate information. The customer just needs to verify accuracy. Clearly a better approach from a user experience perspective that will help differentiate your bank or credit union.

The simplicity doesn’t end there. Information can be pulled from paystubs, invoices or other forms of income and address documentation. Again, making the process of opening a banking account or getting a loan frictionless for the customer while saving them time and the headache of typing all that information in on those tiny little keyboards.

The benefits expand further into the value chain. Because this data isn’t transposed and is more likely to be accurate, it can be processed more efficiently, offering a lowered processing cost to the financial institution and a quicker decision back to the customer.

Additionally, all those paper forms you’ve been using for years can easily be converted to digital. That time savings alone will likely save you money for the investment. Instead of recreating forms, your staff is double checking, making small updates and corrections. Clearly a massive time savings. But what about customers?

OCR integration into mobile apps isn’t new; we’ve been doing it with remote deposit capture for years. We need to move it into other parts of the financial services businesses to see the real value, and to continue to drive the best possible product set for our customers and Activate at the Point of Excitement.

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