By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Tired of paying bills online and doing all that data entry, or writing checks and dropping them in the mail?  The newest feature of mobile banking may be for you. New apps that let you pay your bills by simply snapping a picture with your smartphone!  3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan takes a look at how it works.

When Al Broberg pays his bills he takes out his smartphone, opens his mobile banking app, snaps a picture and he’s done.

“It’s just wow technology,” said Broberg.

“Photo bill pay is really in its infancy. It’s a, it’s a big thing you will see increasingly rolling out in 2014, 2015 and beyond.  It’s going to become a staple,” said Mark Schwanhausser with Javelin Strategy and Research.

Right now a small number of financial institutions are using mobile photo bill pay, and bankers report it’s a high tech magnet for customers.

“The people who are using this really love it,” said Gary Austin with Credit Union of America.

So how does just snapping a picture of a bill actually pay it?

“The bank is actually able to take that image and extract all of the information about the biller from the picture. So we can enable the customer to avoid having to type all that information into forms. Then, once the biller is set up the customer just has to confirm the amount the date and send the payment,” said Chris Pepper with U.S. Bank.

And more photo payment options are coming soon.  An app called “check” will give anyone with a smartphone access to mobile photo bill pay, even if their bank doesn’t offer it.

Other programs will scan qr codes to pay bills.

Financial institutions already using mobile photo pay say, similar to remote check deposit, images are never stored in your phone, and using photo bill pay reveals less information than mailing a check.

“If you think about what- the information that’s on a physical check it has your name, address, sometimes your phone number and it always has your full account number and the routing number of your bank. So, really the less that you expose that type of information the safer you are,” said Pepper.

In our region, U.S. Bank offers the mobile photo bill pay app.  As for costs of using these products ,the jury is still out as to whether there will be fees as more banks adopt photo pay.