U.S. Bank (NYSE: USB) has launched an iPad app that retail stores can use to offer instant credit to their customers. The app relieves customers of the burden of filling out application forms by hand and is designed to get more U.S. Bank credit cards into shoppers’ wallets.
Dominic Venturo, Chief Innovation Officer at U.S. Bank, explained in an email that the marketing behind integrating credit card applications through an iPad is primarily based on security. With this solution, the bank hopes to “eliminate a paper application or requiring a person to provide their personal information to another to complete the application.”
Furthermore, since the customer is filling out the application in-store instead of at home on the computer, U.S. Bank retains “the ability for an expert to have a discussion with the applicant regarding the product.”
Allowing customers to use an iPad does seem cooler than a clipboard. There are distinct business advantages for retailers too. With the app, stores will know immediately whether a customer qualifies for credit or not — making it possible to offer discounts for getting a card rather than discounts for applying for one.
Where you can find this
Sports Chalet, a sporting goods retailer, is piloting the app. Customers enter their information into the iPad and, if the application is approved, they receive instant credit to make purchases. While Venturo does not necessarily assume that the coolness of an iPad will attract more applicants, he does hope to expand the app’s use to other existing co-brand retail partners.
U.S. Bank is not aggressively marketing this solution. They do not plan on targeting the product to retailers who use the iPad with Square or the newly released PayPal Here. This will be used merely as a technological advancement “rather than as a new account acquisition channel via retailers with whom we do not have a co-brand credit card offering.”
U.S. Bank provided the iPads and the app for Sports Chalet. Venturo did not say whether the bank will give the tablets to other retailers.
Next up, more of the same
The appeal of the iPad itself, rather than the credit card, may prove to be the killer app here. Presumably there are hundreds of thousands of people who would like to try one of the tablets — even if just for the few minutes it takes to complete an application. And if the pilot test shows iPad-based credit applications to be faster, safer and more popular than paper, retailers may move en masse to similar systems.