A startup by the name of Jumio has introduced a revolutionary new way for consumers to pay for goods and services online.
Jumio's Netswipe solution turns any webcam into a secure credit card reader, letting consumers with a web camera-equipped mobile phone, tablet or computer safely pay for purchases using their credit card.
"Jumio bridges the gap between the security and trust of credit card payments at the point of sale and the availability and convenience of modern day online transactions," said Jumio founder Daniel Mattes in a blog post introducing Netswipe.
To complete a transaction, consumers briefly hold their credit card in front of their webcam during a secure video stream. The consumer's details are verified during the video session so there is no need to capture a still photograph or for data to be stored on the computer that is used for the payment.
For consumers, especially those using mobile phones or tablets, the payment system takes the hassle out of trying to type a long string of numbers while shopping online.
Jumio claims its Netswipe is the first and only payment solution that enables online card-present transactions, but a second company called Lumber Labs introduced its own automatic scanning mobile credit card payment solution, called card.io, in late June.
US-based iPhone and Android payment company Square has been making waves in the US with its mobile credit card reader and corresponding app. Square essentially enables anyone with an iOS or Android-based device to turn their gadget into a point of sale and to accept cash and credit card payments, however it requires people to have a (free) credit card reader.
Jumio's technology doesn't require users to download, install or buy any new software or hardware, meaning that users are more likely to use it.
Apple is using similar technology in its recently released Mac OS X Lion to enable users to capture and insert their signature on digital documents with their webcam.