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US start-up lets buyers snap card with phone to make payment

24 June 2011  |  8023 views  |  3 iphone apps on screen

US start-up card.io has unveiled a mobile-commerce system that lets buyers take a photo of their credit card with a phone camera, eliminating the need to type in the information.

Smartphone applications using the card.io software activate handset cameras when a customer wants to make a payment. The user then places their credit card in a green frame on the screen and takes a photo. The technology scans the image for card details to complete the transaction.

The company says its system eliminates the awkward process of typing in credit card info on a mobile keypad as well as the need to carry around a separate piece of hardware.

In a private beta programme, card.io is now offering its SDK to iOS application developers, enabling them to drop the software into apps. The firm is already working with MogoTix for event tickets, TaskRabbit for local services and SamaSource for donations. An Android SDK is in the pipeline.



Founders Mike Mettler and Josh Bleecher Snyder - former AdMob employees - have also secured $1 million in seed funding from angel investors Michael Dearing of Harrison Metal, Jeff Clavier and Charles Hudson of SoftTech VC, Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures, former PayPal exec Alok Bhanot and AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui.

Says Mettler: "We're betting that, over the long term, software will win out over hardware-dependent payment solutions. Because we're software, we can scale and improve more quickly. Also, we can reach every device owner from day one - as long as you have your phone, just point and pay."

Comments: (3)

Nick Green
Nick Green - ISD Consultants - Northampton | 24 June, 2011, 15:10

Is it just me? To improve security over simple PAN Key entry the card schemes added in the Card Security code on the back; because that wasn't the same value as the code in the magnetic stripe, then onwards to VbV and MasterCard secure code. This looks like a step back to me and processors should be saying to these guys when they say "will you process these transactions" - No. Ok let's see list of skimmed card numbers, copy of Photoshop, OCR Font - how many cards did you want?

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 27 June, 2011, 23:36

Not only is software scaleable for good, it is also easy to distribute for bad. This is such a bad idea and counter to all the methods the industry is trying to do to protect this data.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 08 July, 2011, 08:20

This is definitely a big step backwards. We’re moving towards more secure authentications. Many issuers require using 3D security and are moving to 1 time passwords with screens integrated to the plastics.

On the other hand this story doesn’t tell whether this software supports these functions, but then the whole idea is lost – take a picture and then start punching numbers anyway.

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