The next time a UK retail banker – especially if on the digital side – tells you just how innovative they are: three words come to mind as a response. Douglas Blakey writes

‘Remote cheque deposit’.

Actually, only one word comes to mind: pathetic.

It is not rocket science. Vendors’ solutions that work and are tried and tested are out there. The facility has been proven to work in other markets – for what seems like ages.

I recall a roundtable with NCR and CIBC and Barclays on the very subject in 2014, for goodness sake.

But yet-where are we with remote cheque deposit in the UK?

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In all of this, I excuse Barclays. And to be fair, Lloyds, to a lesser degree,.

Barclays ran a pilot programme for retail customers in early 2015 and by all accounts, it worked well. Lloyds ran a smaller programme for SMEs and some of its staff.

But as for the rest?

It makes little sense to drag heels here as the savings for banks are self-evident.

Fewer branch transactions; accelerated cheque processing times will benefit consumers; reduced costs for banks as a result of less paper are just some of the benefits.

The government and the regulators, in hindsight, ought to have insisted on a much speedier deadline for the UK roll out of remote cheque deposit.

There is no excuse for any further delay.

Meantime, some interesting research comes to hand from the clever guys at Nielsen about the prospects for the mobile-only banks set to launch in the UK this year and next.

In a 63-country survey, Nielsen finds that Britons are among the least likely in the world to use them.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Britons aren’t likely to use mobile-only banks with customers in only four countries – France, Belgium, Hungary and New Zealand –  less likely than Britons to use these types of banks, according to Nielsen.

People in India are the most likely to use mobile-only banks (46% say they’re highly likely to do so) followed by Indonesians (37%). Despite the resistance to mobile-only banks among the British public, the 10% who say they’re highly likely to use them gives mobile-only banks a potential customer base of about 5 million UK adults.

Despite the gloomy tone of the report, that is still a healthy potential customer base to target and will grow. Champagne corks will be popping when any of the start-ups hit even 100,000 customers.

Lastly on a positive note: as RBI goes to press, two strong examples of welcome industry cooperation.

Positive news coming from Monitise is a rarity these days but news of the FINKit Partner Programme with founding partners MasterCard, BehavioSec, Currencycloud, Envestnet, Yodlee, Experian, fastacash, FICO, HID, iGeolise, LivePerson, MYPINPAD, Syniverse, and WorldFirst deserves a mention.

The partnering firms have agreed to make their APIs and services available together on Monitise’s cloud-based FINKit platform, in order to accelerate industry-wide collaboration by developing new customer propositions.

Likewise, news that Fujitsu has launched Smart Origination, customer onboarding technology enabling financial institutions to collect, process and verify documents in less than five minute is interesting.

Fujitsu’s cooperation with ImageWare Systems, InAuth, Intelligent Environments, Mitek, and Trunomi, operates across multiple channels in an attempt to increase conversation and reduce the cost of new customer acquisition and is among the more interesting news stories of the month.