Using your credit card to pay for products or services through apps can be a pain, particularly if you need to type in that 16-digit card number and a three-digit security code on a virtual keyboard. A new startup, card.io, wants to make paying for something as easy as taking a picture with your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Card.io uses the built-in camera in these devices to literally take a photo of the credit card you wish to use for payment. After capturing an image of the card, card.io encrypts the information, and it is passed on to the vendor for payment. At no point is the card number actually saved on the device.
The company has an API available for iOS developers and wants to target e-commerce, ticketing and travel apps among others. The video below shows a quick demo of card.io in action.
card.io Aims to Change the Way Consumers Pay With Credit Cards, Launches Mobile Commerce SDK for iOS Developers
Visual swipe technology makes mobile commerce fast and easy
San Francisco, Calif. – June 23, 2011 – card.io, a start-up founded by two former AdMob employees, Mike Mettler and Josh Bleecher Snyder, today announced a $1M seed round of funding from a hotlist of angel investors and the launch of a private beta program for mobile developers who want to integrate a fast, easy and secure mobile commerce experience into their applications.
Unlike mobile advertising, mobile commerce has yet to mature despite the efforts of a variety of players including major banks, credit card companies, tech brands, mobile operators and well-heeled startups. Typing in credit card info on a mobile keypad is slow, and most consumers don't have separate hardware to swipe a credit card. Card.io is trying to solve both of these problems: you just hold a credit card up to the phone, and card.io automatically reads the card information using the phone's camera.
Rather than target retailers, card.io is targeting iOS developers in e-commerce, local, ticketing, travel, and daily deal apps with today's private beta launch. card.io is working with MogoTix for event tickets, TaskRabbit for local services, and SamaSource for donations.
"We're betting that, over the long term, software will win out over hardware-dependent payment solutions," said Mike Mettler, co-founder and CEO of card.io. "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."
"Tons of innovation is already happening at the physical point of sale for in-person transactions. We're doing something different. Mobile checkout for ecommerce needs a rethink. Card.io's software-only service lets developers build mobile checkout right into their app. It turns any smartphone with a camera into a cash register," said angel investor Michael Dearing of Harrison Metal.
Dearing joins other card.io investors such as Jeff Clavier and Charles Hudson of SoftTech VC, Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures, Alok Bhanot (former VP, Risk Technology at PayPal), and Omar Hamoui (CEO/founder of AdMob).
"One of the biggest hurdles to mobile commerce adoption is that users don't want to type lots of information into their phone to make a purchase," said Scott Thorpe at MogoTix. "card.io's software solution is disruptive because it allows consumers to use their phone camera to pay with a credit card, with no need for extra hardware. This improves our purchase conversion and thus increases revenue."
App developers interested in more information about card.io's solution can sign up from the website at http://card.io or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Located in San Francisco, card.io aims to change the way you purchase on your mobile device. You can follow us on Twitter at @cardio.
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