By Zachary Ehrlich  Posted on Thu Jul 28, 2011

Netswipe Uses Webcam As Card Reader

A small start-up from California is making a serious bid to change the way people view their webcams. Jumio’s new card-reading software streams your purchasing information — by scanning it with your computer’s camera. 

With the race for the best new credit card payment method in full swing, Jumio hopes to put an extra focus on security in the world of online payments. Their first product called Netswipe aims to replicate point of sale transactions in the store where no information is stored or even input into a system. With credit card fraud reportedly costing merchants $190 billion a year, a more secure payment method is definitely necessary and Netswipe may just be their solution.

How it works

For consumers: To make a purchase online, pick your products and head to checkout as you normally would. Next, your camera will activate prompting you to hold up your credit card and fit it into the onscreen box. The camera will scan the front on your credit card, and then you enter your CVV code using a  mouse-controlled keypad to eliminate the possibility of key-logging. Check out the video below on how to use it.

For merchants: To begin, go to their website, set up an account and purchase one of their business plans: Netswipe Start, Netswipe Scanning or Netswipe Processing (a mobile app and other products will be released later this year). Then fill out the appropriate forms and embed your new Netswipe box straight onto your business’ website. Netswipe Scanning will reduce false positives, so your business should not lose any real customers.

The latter are the real reason for such technology. While banks lose $11 billion and consumers lose about $5 billion, merchants’ losses are comparatively astronomical.

Safety issues

As stated on their website, “Jumio’s patented card scanning technology turns a card not present transaction into an online card present transaction.” Jumio wants to protect consumers by forcing potential thieves to steal your physical card instead of just the information, which is much more easily obtainable online. Therefore, a “card present” transaction significantly reduces the risk of fraud (but it’s kind of annoying if you don’t have your card).

For those worried about scanning a picture of their credit card and sending it off into cyberspace, Netswipe incorporates secure video streaming, which does not even store your data. They’ve created a very sophisticated scanner, which can analyze embossed data (so you can’t hold up a photocopy), and can even recognize a hologram. Only 1 per million card recognitions is incorrect. There is no snapshot taken, nor any data stored on the computer you used.

The company’s future

Everyone is used to entering the digits of their credit card in order to make a purchase and some websites let you store the info, so that when you log in (with your password of course) you don’t have to enter the card info every time. Netswipe eliminates those possibilities by creating a card present transaction, similar to what Card.io did last month.

The technology is fascinating and safe, but when it comes down to it, consumers want ease of use and convenience. If you are at home and your card is downstairs, would you go down and get it to take advantage of this technology, or just type in the numbers as usual (assuming you wrote them down or shop enough to know them by heart)?

When asked in an email how they will go about making a more convenient access point, perhaps by utilizing the scan technology for fingerprints or other identifiers, the response was: “Our technology would be able to scan different objects and not only credit cards. At our labs developers are already investigating a variety of fields where our technology can (and will) be applied. But, at the moment we are very happy to introduce Netswipe.” Indeed we are happy, too.

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  • Sriram N

    this technology will never satisfy security norms. anything scanned automatically gives a feeling of being ‘cloned’. Perhaps, adding a layer of biometric authentication or at the least V by V / SecureCode is a must.