Card.io takes pictures of your credit cards, for totally legitimate purposes
PayPal has bought a company which makes online shopping easier, by entering credit card details from a smartphone camera.
The eBay subsidiary added the San Francisco startup card.io to a list of acquisitions meant to help it stay competitive in the growing mobile payments market. Card.io’s technology is supposed to make it easy to transfer money by enering your card details with your phone’s camera.
There is currently no available information on the price of the deal.
Card.io’s system reads details of all major credit cards, without the need for a dongle. It uses a smartphone camera to take the picture and then processes the text on the card, much like a barcode or QR-code scanner.
The service charges $0.15 per scan, although $30 of scan credit is available free after new users sign up. The company uses 256-bit SSL-encryption to transfer data, and doesn’t store any card information on the servers, the company assures security-conscious users. At the moment, the service is only available for Android and iOS.
“We first met with the team at card.io when we were working on integrating their technology into the PayPal Here mobile app,” wrote Hill Ferguson, vice president of global groduct, on the PayPal blog.
“While working with them, we were simply blown away by the creativity and drive of their employees. They are a passionate and independent team that likes solving large, complex problems and we wanted them to join our team.”
Now, card.io staff will join the PayPal headquarters in San Jose,California, to work on the PayPal digital wallet. The company has promised that the current card.io SDKs will remain available for developers to use in their applications.
PayPal Here, launched in March, takes a slightly different approach to credit card transactions. It involves using a blue triangle dongle that plugs into the smartphone’s 3.5mm audio jack and is able to read the card’s magnetic strip. The accompanying smartphone application is also capable of processing card pictures with card.io technology.
Although the device is free, PayPal takes a 2.7 percent cut for each credit card swiped, which is slightly cheaper than competitor Square’s rate of 2.75 percent.
Earlier, the company had criticised Near Field Communication (NFC) payments, an alternative to credit cards, saying that the technology might be out of date before it even appears on the market. Meanwhile, Google, Intel and a host of mobile operators have pledged their support to NFC.
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