Credit bureau Equifax Inc. is leveraging its trove of consumer data to streamline the purchasing process on the Web and mobile devices.
"It's the first time we're entering the payments space," says Anand Krishnaswamy, vice president of mobile commerce at Equifax. "There's clearly value that Equifax brings by leveraging our data around consumer credit and relationships with financial institutions."
Equifax is developing a product line called 1-Touch Services, which will include services for identity verification, payments and opening new card accounts.
For the identity component, Equifax is working with Jumio Inc., a provider of software that can auto-fill forms by scanning data from ID and payment cards using a webcam or smartphone camera. Equifax will then use its own data to populate forms with other personally identifiable information and check for fraud.
"Because the consumer initiates the identity process there's a comfort level with that from a consumer perspective," Krishnaswamy says.
Merchants can integrate Equifax's services into their e-commerce or mobile commerce sites, streamlining the process of collecting information from shoppers.
When customers first come to a merchant using the Equifax/Jumio technology, they will be asked to scan an ID card and give Equifax permission to check their data. Afterwards, customers select a payment card to use.
On subsequent visits to any merchant that uses Equifax's technology, consumers will only need to give Equifax permission to checkout.
"This is very different from the concept of other wallets," says Mike Orlando, sales officer at Jumio. "We want consumers to go through the sign-up and checkout process without ever having to take a keystroke."
While the initial focus will be on online retailers, Equifax wants to roll out the technology to brick and mortar retailers as well, says Krishnaswamy. The Atlanta, Ga.-based company plans to start selling these services commercially to merchants in the next couple months.
Equifax will also be able to prescreen consumers for credit products during checkout. If the consumer is creditworthy, Equifax's services can offer to sign up that shopper for the retailer's store-branded credit card.
Krishnaswamy says all parties involved will see advantages. Consumers will have a faster purchasing experience, merchants will see less shopping cart abandonment and financial institutions will benefit from more card origination, he says.
The companies are still working out the pricing model for merchants, but Orlando says they will be based partially on Jumio's fees for its NetVerify and NetSwipe services. Jumio's software as a service subscription pricing depends on the size and transaction volume of a merchant. Entry level packages for small to medium-sized businesses start at $795 per month, he says.
While Equifax might seem like a strange entrant into payments, many other companies outside the industry, such as the armored truck company Brink's, have been moving into the rapidly-evolving market.