Card.io, well known for its mobile phone card swiping applications for entrepreneurs and businesses, has released a new version of its app that uses the phone’s camera to “see” the credit card and process it without swiping. This version allows consumers to make person-to-person payments for a variety of things (such as splitting a tab or giving a loan).
The new app, which unlike previous apps such as competitor Square, requires no external add-ons for the phone in order to work. Rather than reading the card via the magnetic strip through an add-on dongle swipe reader, the app reads the card’s imprint to get the account number, cardholder’s name, expiration date, etc.
The app works by creating a window-like frame on the phone’s screen into which the card is “placed” by holding it in front of the phone’s camera. The app then reads the card and lets the user know it’s got the data, which is displayed for confirmation. Then all the merchant has to do is send the information through their processor, verify the charge, and the sale is complete.
In addition to the new software, Card.io is launching a software developer’s kit (SDK) for the app that allows developers to create customized or specific uses for the application, such as integration with popular website card processing apps or merchant gateways. Potentially, developers could also utilize the app to recognize things other than cards, such as business cards or other items.
So far, more than 160 apps, including most of the popular processing gateways as well as top-level merchants like Newegg, have integrated with Card.io.
Very cool and enabling.