Chase today is rolling out a useful new feature for Jot, the mobile banking app it provides for small business customers.
The app is about two years old; small business owners use it primarily to manage their Chase credit cards. The bank offers a line of four cards for small businesses under the Ink brand.
"Small business owners tend to be out of the office quite a bit, they're on the road and very mobile," observes Richard Quigley, president of small business cards at Chase. "As a result, they've been early adopters and frequent users of smart phones and tablets." Chase's small business customers mostly use iOS and Android devices. "We've been finding ways to use mobile devices to address friction points they have in their business lives."
Small business owners typically start a company because they have passion for something, such as cooking or design, he points out. "Then they all too often find they're stuck in the back office working on taxes, payroll, and filing invoices. That's a huge frustration point, because they'd really like to be in the front, serving and interacting with customers, helping to grow their business." Part of the point of Jot is to help them get out of the back office.
Small business people told the bank they were spending countless hours at the end of the month trying to map the items on their credit card bills to particular clients and projects. "A charge might have been from 30 or 40 days ago, it's a lot of work to figure out what it was for," Quigley says.
Jot lets customers tag their transactions at the point of sale. So if a small business owner has just taken a client to lunch, he could immediately tag that charge with the customer's name. Later, the small business person could search and sort through the tagged transactions to create invoices for clients.
The next thing small business customers told Chase was that they were having trouble tracking their shoeboxes full of receipts. "They often lose them and it becomes a complete pain," Quigley says.
Hence, the new feature the bank is announcing today lets customers attach a photo of the receipt or of the item itself with the transaction. "Say you were a designer buying a sofa for a client, you could tag the transaction with the client's name," he says. "You'd also be able to take a picture of the receipt" or of the sofa itself.
The receipts can also be downloaded to accounting software such as QuickBooks or Excel.