First Financial in Abilene, Texas is the First Bank to Launch Mobile Photo Bill Pay

  • Philip Ryan
  • February 3, 2013
  • 1

smartphone_billpayFirst Financial, an Abilene, Texas-based bank with 55 locations in the Lone Star State, is the nation’s first bank to launch a mobile photo bill pay solution.

The product, using technology from Mitek Systems, allows users to take photos of bills and import biller information into their mobile banking apps and send off payments.

The solution went live “about a week ago,” said Jeff Casey, SVP of alternative delivery channels.

The bank, with assets of $4.5 billion, launched a mobile initiative and 2011 and determined that it needed cutting-edge technology for customer acquisition and retention. The bank examined all of its channels and pushed resources toward developing a viable mobile channel, launching remote deposit capture by October 2012. Since then the bank moved rapidly to launch mobile photo bill pay, which it produced in partnership with Malauzai and Allied Payments. The product is called Picture Pay.

Malauzai has a camera-first philosophy, the company’s chief product officer Robb Gaynor explained to Bank Innovation. The camera drives use of the smartphone, and Malauzai made it central to its mobile banking solution.

The bank launched an ad to promote the new service:


“The mobile app is the foundation of self-service,” said First Financial’s Casey, and indicated that older customers and those outside the “early adopter” profile typically need some education on using the product.

“We want to wow our customers. We see it as a competitive differentiator, like RDC. The big banks did the advertising for RDC,” Casey said. Among First Financial’s customers, he said, mobile banking is now moving from the “early adopter to the early majority phase.”

The service is free, but there is a fee to use expedited payments: $24.95 for an overnight paper check, and $4.95 for an overnight electronic payment.

53% of First Financial’s mobile users upgraded their apps as soon as the service launched (which Casey acknowledges may have to do with users being accustomed to frequent mobile upgrades) and as of January 31, about 100 payments had been recorded, with 6% to 10% of them expedited.

5% of the bank’s customers are “mobile only.” The strategy now, Casey, said, is to introduce them to bill pay. Bill pay is a classically sticky service — and mobile is sticky too. The two of them together? Super glue.

  Like This Post

Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at

  • googleplus

One thought on “First Financial in Abilene, Texas is the First Bank to Launch Mobile Photo Bill Pay

Leave a Reply