Fast Company

How Jumio's Webcam Credit-Card Swiper Will Increase E-Commerce Sales

Making purchases online is a headache: filling out your billing address, your credit card number, your zip code, and other personal details. How often have you sat squinting at your desk, slowly bobbing your head from card to computer as you henpeck away at the keyboard with one hand? But a new service launched today can make paying for goods digitally just as painless and simple as swiping your card at the grocery store.

Called Jumio, a startup backed by Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin, the new service allows consumers to "swipe" their credit cards via webcam. When making a purchase online, Jumio will soon be giving consumers the option to check out with Netswipe, a technology that enables webcams to scan your card without the hassle of having to plug in the information yourself. Far from simply a technology of consumer convenience, Jumio hopes Netswipe will significantly boost e-commerce sales for merchants.

"At the end of the day, all you want is the Starbucks experience--you want to pay quickly by showing your card, and that's it," says Daniel Mattes, founder and CEO of Jumio. "With our solution, we believe we've bridged the gap between these two different worlds. It's so simple and easy for the user."

That simplicity translates to potentially big revenues, he says. Consumers often view the many steps of online transactions as a deterrent to making a purchase--it's one reason why Amazon has invested so heavily in reducing the amount of steps it takes to complete payment. For today's launch Jumio actually conducted a survey of 2,500 consumers, and found that Netswipe significantly reduces the churn rate of online payments. According to the report, without Netswipe, about 52% of customers aborted payment; with Netswipe, just 21% of customers aborted payment--a significantly deceased churn rate. In the pilot phase of the technology, "the merchant actually doubled his revenue," Mattes says.

What's more, the Netswipe payment method was significantly more effective than traditional payment methods. Without the tech, legitimate payments that were wrongly rejected stood at 6%; with Netswipe, that number fell below 1%. Consumers on average saved 2.3 minutes by scanning their cards via webcam as opposed to typing in the personal information--a convenience consumers certainly appreciated, as 97% of customers surveyed said they preferred Netswipe to traditional online payment methods.

For merchants, Netswipe may also improve security and reduce potential fraud. Because Jumio's technology analyzes cards to determine that they're plastic and not paper, scans the numerals and letters on the card to determine they're properly embossed, and checks card-specific features such as holograms and more, Netswipe is potentially more secure than filling out credit card information online the traditional way, Mattes believes. He argues that the technology is not introducing any new security threats that did not already exist, and that it's in fact eliminating many potential threats. For example, no longer will it be possible to make a purchase only with your credit card information. A physical card will be required, just as it is for in-store transactions.  

Mattes believes such security will help lower the costs of fraud prevention. In the startup's report, Jumio found that merchants saved 36% more money on fraud control than merchants who accepted traditional payment. 

But there's still the issue of implementing the technology and educating the consumer. Older consumers are likely to be less familiar and less inclined to use such a novel technology--especially technology that uses a webcam to scan your credit card. But Mattes hopes that once well known partners adopt the solution--such as, say, Amazon--that consumers will grow more comfortable and trusting of Netswipe.

"Honestly, my prediction, if we get massive distribution of our solution, online payment transactions will significantly increase," he says.

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