Mobile commerce is a field that's seen a lot of gains in the last few years, going from an area that few would touch to a field that's almost downright mainstream. Security measures these days are getting stronger to accommodate, but are these measures outpacing the countermeasures of the data thieves? For Jumio, the answer is no, and the company in turn thinks it may have a way to fend off the credit card hackers, Heartbleed users, and similar such folks out there.
The issue at hand is a complex one, balancing usability with security. While retailers don't want to make it more difficult for users to get into properly established accounts—that leads to abandoned shopping carts, lost sales, and from there lost profits—making it too easy to get in can in turn provide a way in for unauthorized users. This in turn opened the door for Jumio to step in and offer a smoother, simpler solution, particularly after Jumio's CEO Daniel Mattes once spent four hours on a phone call with an airline trying to buy an airline ticket for a friend in a transaction that involved an Austrian card and a French IP address. But that was when Mattes got the idea behind Jumio, having users turn a smartphone into a combination credit card and ID reader thanks to its built-in camera system, allowing users to show a visible credit card, plus show visible identification proof to verify the transaction.
Jumio's offering drew plenty of attention from the investor community, as Andreessen Horowitz and Citi Ventures got involved in fundraising—as did Facebook (News - Alert)'s Eduardo Saverin—and brought in a total of $36.7 million for the company. Jumio quickly found interest from several sources, including Travelocity and Western Union (News - Alert), all eager to put Jumio's three main products to work.
First, there's Fastfill, a service that allows the mobile apps offered by companies to offer a little something extra to the users: the ability for said user to just take a picture of a piece of identification, and then automatically deconstruct that picture to fill in information fields like addresses and the like. Since Fastfill recognizes the various ID styles used in 110 different countries, the end result should be that most every interested market should be well covered. Netswipe, meanwhile, allows users to pay by credit card just by photographing the credit card, a development that has already been seen in use with checks. Finally, there's Netverify, a service that can determine the veracity of identification used in these processes.
On the one hand, this seems like a great idea on the surface, just being able to take photos of things like driver's licenses or credit or debit cards, because the likelihood of anyone else having said documents is comparatively slim. But by like token, these approaches put a lot of strain on the original documents; what happens in the event of a lost wallet? Essentially the finder of said parcel would have a lot of power to engage in identity theft, because the user in question would have the original documents on hand, essentially turning into that person as far as Netverify would be concerned.
Though there are some issues with technology like this, it's still noteworthy in that it takes unconventional elements and puts same to work in a whole new way. That's the start of a pretty good solution, and though not everything is specifically addressed here, mobile commerce may have a new future in technology like this.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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