Jumio Soon to Offer Software-only Mobile Card Processing

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Jumio plans to soon introduce a new kind of payment processing service that uses cellphones but doesn't require any additional hardware.

"We have created software that turns any smartphone with a simple download into a credit card terminal," said Daniel Mattes, CEO of Jumio, during the keynote on the final day of the CTIA Enterprise and Applications conference in San Diego.

Jumio already offers a service that lets online retailers accept credit card payments from users who hold their credit card in front of a webcam to make the payment. On Oct. 28, it will start distributing software that enables merchants in physical stores to process credit cards in a similar way but using a mobile phone instead of a computer.

A shop owner who uses the mobile Jumio app will download the software to their smartphone, which could be an iPhone, Android device or BlackBerry. When a customer presents a credit card, the shop owner launches the application and types in the purchase price and name of the item being bought.

The software then connects to Jumio's secure payment server and shows the image from the phone's camera. The shop owner aims the phone's camera at the credit card and the software identifies that it's valid. The shop owner must then enter the CVV code from the back of the credit card and the payment is complete.

Jumio uses computer vision technology to determine that a credit card is real, and not simply a high-quality photograph of one, Mattes said. The technology isn't taking a photograph of the card but an encrypted video stream that uses a computer vision algorithm with 3D analysis to identify that the object in front of the camera is plastic. It also analyzes holograms if there are any on the card, he said.

"We have very high accuracy that this really is a card," he said.

The service will compete with other mobile payment processing systems offered by companies including Square and Intuit. Those services, however, require users to plug a small piece of hardware into their phones that is used to swipe the magnetic stripe on the card. Jumio may attract users because it doesn't require any new hardware.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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