There’s another game in town that aims to take a swipe at the mobile commerce sector. It’s San Francisco-based card.io, a startup founded by former AdMob employees who believe consumers will find it easy and secure to take a picture/swipe of their credit card with their phone to pay for goods.
The company yesterday launched its mobile commerce SDK for iOS developers; an Android solution is in the works but founder and CEO Mike Mettler isn’t ready to put a date on its release. The iOS launch is in private beta, with companies like MogoTix for event tickets, TaskRabbit for local services and SamaSource for donations. It’s initially targeting those areas and travel and daily deal apps.
The company is focused on enabling easy payment solutions for developers who are building mobile apps, so its main competitors are the platform owners, namely Google and Apple. For in-app payments, iOS developers must use Apple’s solution, Mettler says, but outside of that, card.io is free to go about its business. The cost for developers to use card.io is 15 cents per scan.
The way it works, the information is authenticated and it never saves images of the credit cards. Mettler says it’s a secure system, with authentication built in, and he’s confident that consumers are getting comfortable enough using phones for financial tasks, including check-scanning apps, that they will make the transition to something like card.io.
The company, which started forming last August, is betting that over the long term, software will win out over hardware-dependent payment solutions, like near-field communications (NFC), which has gotten a lot of support of late from the likes of Google and others.
Because it’s software-based, card.io can scale and make improvements more quickly, Mettler says.
Mettler founded the company with Josh Bleecher Snyder; they also announced a $1 million seed round of funding from angel investors, including former AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui, Michael Dearing of Harrison Metal, Jeff Clavier and Charles Hudson of SoftTech VC, Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures and Alok Bhanot, the former vice president/Risk Technology at PayPal.
A demo of card.io’s solution can be viewed here.