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Snap a photo, open a bank account

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Monday, September 30, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

If you're tired of the tedious process of talking with tellers or filling out online forms to open a new bank account, one company is hoping to help eliminate your frustrations.

San Diego-based Mitek has unveiled new mobile photo account opening technology that could transform another piece of the traditional banking experience. The process is simple and only requires a smartphone or tablet. First, you take a picture of the front and back of your driver's license with your smartphone. Next, you take a picture of a check to fund the new account. That's it. There's no need for data entry, and according to initial estimations, the entire process can be reduced to less than one minute (depending on the speed of your smartphone photography skills).

According to research from Javelin Strategy & Research, some consumers are already leading the charge toward opening checking and savings accounts via their smartphones. One in 10 consumers says that it is easier to open an account on a smartphone or tablet than it is to log online or visit a physical branch location.

Still, 10 percent seems like a relatively small start, so I'll be interested to see how quickly banks offer this technology. More importantly, I wonder whether more consumers will actually be willing to embrace it. While account holders are adopting mobile banking tools for daily money monitoring, on-the-go transfers and convenient deposits, opening an account is a one-time process. Plenty of consumers use their smartphones for just about everything. However, when it comes to comparing checking accounts, looking at bank fees and exchanging sensitive private information, I'm curious how many readers will feel comfortable doing all that work from a smaller screen without any human interaction.

What do you think of the technology? How would you feel about opening your next bank account with a simple snapshot on your smartphone?

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