Radius Bank AppRadius Bank, the pioneering virtual bank, had a problem when it upgraded its website to make it more compatible with mobile-savvy customers.

The problem was that mobile phones use Lilliputian keyboards to enter data and data had to be entered in order to open or update bank accounts.

“It’s one thing to text a short pithy message with a tiny keyboard and have a typo or two,” says Chris Tremont, EVP of Virtual Banking at Radius Bank. “and quite another to make a mistake inputting a critical sequence of numbers — say a driver’s license ID. There’s also the issue of the additional time it takes and frustration that may be caused by having to input data from a mobile smaller-form mobile screen.”

The typo challenge

Because of this, a minor typo could result in a potential customer abandoning efforts to apply for an account, or cause the applicant to be wrongfully declined by the bank. Either way business would be lost. Indeed a recent study by Mitek, a leader in optical character recognition, warned of the risks of phone keyboard entry.

“More consumers are attempting to open new accounts and shop for new products and services using mobile,” the Mitek study observed. “Unfortunately form abandonment rates are very high due to the cumbersome keypads for data entry.”

Moreover, completed forms done in this fashion were replete with “data inaccuracies causing low approval rates or high volumes of exception processing” Mitek said.

So Radius rethought the matter.

“Our team said let’s forget about the keyboard,” says Tremont, “and do it another way.”

Finding the right fix

Radius’s solution proved both simple and elegant. To reduce the amount of required keyboard data entry, the bank teamed up with Bottomline Technologies to integrate driver’s license scanning technology into their app so that customers could convert smartphone images of their driver’s license into digital content that could be auto-filled into an application.

“An applicant simply snaps a picture of the barcode on the back of your driver’s license,” says Tremont. “The data from the ID automatically populates into the form – saving time and eliminating the possibility of errors.”

The bank’s experiment in photo form entry — Radius was one of the first in the nation to take this approach — was an immediate hit. Within six months of making the feature available, the bank experienced a 96 percent increase in account application viewing by mobile users.

Not only was there more viewing, but the resulting applications were far more accurate than would have been produced using miniature keyboards.

“We turned what could have been a problem into a pretty cool solution,” says Tremont. “One that is generating business.”

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