Westpac uses smartphone cameras for ATM card activation

Debit and credit card details captured via OCR

Westpac has begun offering its customers the ability to activate credit and debit cards using a smartphone camera.

Using the Westpac Mobile Banking app on an Android or iPhone handset, a customer of the bank can snap a picture of their new card.

Text on the card is captured using OCR and customers are prompted to confirm the details are accurate before the card is activated.

"We want to make mobile banking as easy and convenient as possible for our customers and that’s why we have launched card activation by smartphone camera," the bank's CIO, Mike Wood, said in a statement.

"The new feature is a timesaver for our customers who can activate their card when and where it suits them without the need to call customer service, visit a local branch or manually type in card numbers."

Westpac customers activated more than 2 million cards in the past year, the CIO said.

The bank has also launched 'Quick Balance' for the Apple Watch, which allows customers to check their account balance when paired with the Westpac Banking app on an iPhone.

Westpac's technology expenses grew 12 per cent in the 12 months to 30 September to $1.75 billion, the bank revealed in its full year results .

The bank's investment spend for the full year, which included a number of digital initiatives, was $1.03 billion, down 4 per cent year-on-year.

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