It stands to reason that we’re likely to buy and spend more when there’s less friction involved in the purchase experience.
Former AdMob product manager and current Card.io co-founder and CEO Michael Mettler know this all too well. At AdMob, Mettler saw firsthand how mobile consumers were quick to spend $0.99 on apps but much more reluctant to make big-ticket purchases.
“One key to getting better performance in mobile advertising … was getting commerce to move from the web to mobile,” says Mettler. “But, the purchasing experience on the phone is still very poor, and we wanted to build something really simple and really elegant to try and fix it.”
So Mettler and co-founder Josh Bleecher Synder, also formerly of AdMob, came up with the idea to scan credit cards to make mobile application payments faster.
“Card.io is mostly about taking friction out of the purchase process,” says Mettler.
Card.io is a software development kit for mobile application developers. Developers sign up, download the SDK, copy and paste some code into their apps, and can then begin to accept credit card payments by scan from within their applications.
For application users, Card.io means a faster way to pay — simply hold your credit card up to your mobile phone’s camera instead of manually entering your credit card information.
Card.io’s scanning technology resembles something you might find in other mobile applications, and there are a few off-the-shelf optical character recognition (OCR) solutions available to app makers. But Card.io has built its own computer vision and machine learning algorithms to read cards quickly, Mettler says.
Still, Card.io only addresses part of the friction in the mobile credit card payment process. One must still have an actual credit card handy; there’s no avoiding that trek across the room to locate your wallet, at least for the time being.
“Eventually, if we can make it so that all your payment information is stored on your phone, it’s all secure, and you’re comfortable provisioning it out, we can hopefully fix that purchase experience on your phone,” Mettler says.
Select developers were granted access to Card.io’s SDK last week, so we’ll start to see the startup’s credit card scanning technology inside applications in the very near future. Mettler says several, including Card.io-enhanced versions of MogoTix and TaskRabbit, are nearing release.
Card.io has raised $1 million in a seed round led by former eBay executive Michael Dearing.