One of the major problems about buying things on your phone is that it’s a pain to input your credit card via the phone. Card.io is trying to change that, as it has just released an SDK which makes buying things on your phone as simple as pointing your phone’s camera at your credit card and it will fill in all the information securely.
The Card.io SDK will be available for iOS first but it could eventually find its way to Android or other platforms if the demand warrants it. With this payment platform, apps could quickly use a credit card to pay for things like hotel rooms, flight trips, e-commerce and more. The company is focusing on the e-commerce side of things as opposed to the retail side, so we don’t really consider this a competitor to Square.
The Card.io system is secure, the company assures me, and it doesn’t actually store your credit card information on the phone itself. Some merchants will still have you input that CCV number but that will be dependent on the app.
“We’re betting that, over the long term, software will win out over hardware-dependent payment solutions,” said Mike Mettler, co-founder and CEO of Card.io, in a prepared statement. “Because we’re software, we can scale and improve more quickly. Also, we can reach every device owner from day one – as long as you have your phone, just point and pay.”
It’s a very interesting idea but there are going to be some major challenges facing Card.io. The company told me that it sees Apple and Google as its biggest competition, as both offer payment services that can be deeply integrated into its platforms. Purchasing in-app items on the iPhone is as simple as putting in your iTunes ID and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that Apple expands that payment area to other things.
Still, it’s an interesting idea and the team behind it is very strong. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.