Taking On Rival Jumio, Payments Startup Card.io Adds Web Support

Card.io, the mobile payments startup which recently partnered with PayPal on the company’s new Square rival PayPal Here, has some big news: it’s no longer a “mobile” payments startup. That’s right – Card.io is now available for the web, too. With the launch of Card.io Webscan, as it’s being called, web developers can access the company’s card-reading technology which “sees” your credit or debit card when held up to a computer’s webcam.

The move puts Card.io in more direct competition with Jumio, a payments company which already offers both an online and mobile solution and that works in a similar fashion to Card.io. In terms of funding, however, Jumio is in the lead – the company raised $25.5 million of Series B funding in a round led by top VC firm Andreessen Horowitz this March, which puts it far ahead of Card.io, with its $1 million in seed investments.

Until now, the biggest difference between the two companies was that Jumio was focused on cross-platform support, while Card.io only supported mobile.

Jumio debuted its Netswipe technology (the webcam-based product) last year, and has been working to partner with e-commerce retailers to implement the technology during the merchant’s checkout process. Jumio, has recently been moving beyond payments, too, with the introduction of “Netverify,” a technology for online merchants that can verify a user’s identity by reading their ID card when held up to the camera. Reportedly, several banks are interested in this technology both for web and mobile use.

Card.io, meanwhile, has been on a different trajectory. Instead of launching first with support for the web, the company released an SDK for mobile developers that allowed them to integrate the card-reading function into their mobile apps. The product became available first on iOS in June, then arrived on Android in September, at which point 80 some developers had already integrated the toolkit. By January, that number had topped 160, and today, they’re over 200.

The other key difference between Jumio and Card.io, in the past, was how the services operated. Although both use computer vision techniques to see the card in question, then save the user the trouble of manual entry, Jumio let merchants either use their own merchant accounts or its payments network in order to process transactions.

At launch, though, Card.io required developers to use the merchant accounts they already had in place. Depending on who you asked, that was either a feature or cause for complaint – some would say that Jumio was easier because it didn’t require developers to have merchant accounts of their own, while others would say that Card.io was easier because it didn’t require developers to add a new processor.

However, at the beginning of the year, when Card.io launched its person-to-person, consumer-facing app, it also dropped the requirement for developers to use their own merchant account. Today, it supports either method, meaning developers can use their own processor if they choose, or they can use Card.io as a complete end-to-end solution for handling transactions.

In other words, Card.io has been busy becoming less differentiated from Jumio over time, and today’s added support for webcams is just another example of that.

CEO Mike Mettler tells me that Card.io decided to move to support web developers at the request of some online merchants the company had been talking to.

“[The merchants] told us that chargebacks and fraud online were a huge problem. The vast majority of this fraud originates with users who don’t have the physical credit card in their possession, and we were asked whether we could solve this problem,” he says. “We spent the last week hacking something together, and it’s a really great user experience.”

Developers interested in trying out the new web option can view an online demo here and read more about the technology. The integration page here explains how the in-browser application works, and the other requirements.

The product is still in beta, so it’s being made available for free (up to 100 scans per day) through July 1st.