It didn't take long for Jumio Inc. to release a new version of its Netswipe mobile software-development kit.
Jumio released the mobile version of Netswipe in May, giving software developers an opportunity to incorporate Jumio's card-acceptance technology into any mobile applications they design. Jumio enables developers to use a cell phone camera to scan consumers' credit cards for transaction authorization.
It announced a new version today.
"This upgrade came about so quickly because it was a significant improvement over the Netswipe unveiled two months ago," says Jumio CEO and founder Daniel Mattes. "We had better technology available to improve the card-reading focus, security and branding configuration for merchants."
The upgraded auto-focus allows the software to capture better scans more quickly if a cardholder’s hand shakes, the cardholder has a finger over part of the card surface, holds the card at odd angles or attempts to use the phone camera in an environment with low light.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based mobile technology provider calls the upgraded version Boost 20/20, which Mattes says gets its name from the premise that developers can integrate Jumio's kit into a payment application in 20 minutes, resulting in a projected 20% increase in revenue for merchants by easing the process of paying on a mobile device.
Software developers using the earlier version of Netswipe will receive the Boost 20/20 upgrade free, Mattes says. All developers receive the first 500 card scans free until a $5 million fund to develop the kit is depleted, he adds. Jumio then charges 15 cents a scan with the technology, which reads all major card brands.
The software works on Apple Inc. iOS devices, but Jumio plans to soon add interfaces for Google Inc. Android devices.
After a consumer scans a credit card using the phone's camera, Jumio's software transports the encrypted data to a Jumio server, which extracts only the payment information and sends it back to the application for authorization. The entire process takes less than two seconds, compared to Mattes' estimate of 42 seconds to type in a card number.
A software developer who creates a payments application for a hotel chain could incorporate Jumio's kit into the product, allowing consumers booking a room at that hotel through their mobile phone to confirm payment with their credit card, Mattes explains.
Within two years, Mattes predicts, all consumers using a payment card during a mobile phone transaction will do so using the phone's camera.
More companies are starting to use the mobile phone or Web camera as a device for card authentication, and it's possible that Jumio is behind much of that movement, says David Kaminsky, analyst for emerging payments and technology with Mercator Advisory Group.
But the challenge for developers and merchants remains convincing consumers that it is safe to scan a credit card and "just send it out there" without knowing who else has access to it, Kaminsky says.
"Those of us in technology can understand how this works and feel it is relatively secure, but the average consumer would not," Kaminsky says. "But when you see other companies adopting it, you feel more comfortable that it is a secure process."