updated 06:34 am EDT, Wed July 18, 2012
Card.io purchase brings extra payment options to PayPal
PayPal has acquired mobile payment system Card.io. The mobile app system relies on taking a photo of a credit or debit card with the phone to get the card details, rather than swiping the magnetic strip through a portable reader used in other services such as Square. The purchase of Card.io by the payments firm will add another mobile payments system to its portfolio, alongside its already existing Paypal Here swipe add-on for handsets.
Card.io does not require any additional hardware in order to operate, only a smartphone with a camera. It reads the front card information from a photograph, and processes the payment through a third party payment system before deleting the card image. The fact it is a self-contained app with no extra hardware required to operate is a distinct advantage over other systems, although taking a photo of a credit card may be considered a potential security risk by some users.
Running a mobile app for account management, another for payments in-store using barcodes, and a card swiping system, the addition of Card.io to PayPal's mobile payment platform leaves NFC as the last payment system for it to take advantage of. While it Android app allows for fund transfer between phones using the system, it does not allow for in-store purchases at present. [via The PayPal Blog]