Apps brings credit card processing to all without the added hardware


Square and other similar services popularized the smartphone as a way for the average person to accept credit card payments, but not without the addition of a card reading peripheral. Sure, they send it out free to anyone who signs up for an account, but with a new app from such tools are looking obsolete. Open to all, visually processes credit card information using a phone’s camera; it’s a lot like using your smartphone to deposit a check. Users can link the service to their bank account or PayPal, and they won’t find any registration charges. Money processed via will see an additional 3.5 percent plus 30 cents added to the bill.

Even better, is making their SDK available to third party developers, enabling the use of visual credit card payments in any app that chooses to use the technology. Making purchases through an app such as eBay or Amazon would be as easy as scanning your card.

You can find the app in the Android Market now and start hitting your friends up for cash immediately. An iOS version has also been made available.

Android Market Link:

[via Engadget]

Kevin Krause
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  1. there are some serious security and identity issues with this idea. Good idea, but I would never use it unless I knew for a fact that my card number and the scanned image was discarded after the transaction. 

    1. This is exactly what my initial thought was as well.

    2. I don’t know that it matters if they discard the image – now anyone having a card number could simply photoshop up a new copy, print it, and scan it in.  And with the SDK, I wonder if you could scan from a digital copy – no printing required.  Sorry, but this has “bad idea” written all over it.

      1. If the numbers are fake, the charge won’t go through because there’s no valid account associated with those numbers.

        A valid concern is if someone gets a hold of your numbers and makes a fake card to charge to. But that is standard credit card fraud executed through a unique means, so this doesn’t really pose a NEW threat per-se. Just a new way of executing an old threat.

        1. It’s a new, and very convenient way of executing an old threat.  I’m assuming, though, that scans through this app would count as non-swiped transactions.  Small comfort, I suppose.

    3. The only way to know that for sure would be to look at the source code for the app itself to see what it does with the image, and carefully read the ToS for the service.

      The ToS can be found here:

  2. Now THIS is cool.  It just sucks about the 3.5% + 30¢.  I mean, if a buddy owes me $28 for a dinner I covered for him, he’s gonna want to pay me $28, not $29.28.  Oh well.  It’s not a deal-breaker, I guess.  I mean an extra $1.28 (in this example) isn’t that big a deal.  But if we’re talking like… $400, then $14.30 is potentially another story.

    All of that said, I’m gonna get this app anyway. =)

    1. agreed.

    2. That’s just how credit processing works. And you just have to let your buddy know that — just like the bank — if he borrows money, he’s gonna have to pay some interest at the end =p 

    3. Just FYI:

      Last I checked, their (3.5% + 0.30) per-transaction fee is almost exactly the same as that charged by PayPal. However, Square charges a bit less…and I think Intuit does, too.

      1. Hahaha, yes. These rates are actually both double what Square charges; theirs is $.15 and 1.5%. LOLWUT

        1. Actually, according to Square’s web site, the fee is 2.75% for swiped transactions or 3.5% + 15¢ for manually entered numbers.

    4. What do you think one of these transactions actually costs?  I don’t know, but I bet the answer would show these rates to be _obscene_.

      1. Probably, but in truth they’re a business like any other.  They’re in this for 1 reason: to make money.  Because they’re a business, and that’s what businesses do.  And you can’t begrudge them that.

        But even if their rates are exorbitant as compared to the actual cost of executing the transaction, in the end, if the cost to the consumer (in this case 3.5% + 30¢) is low enough to justify using their service for the convenience it provides, it’s still a win-win.

        Everything’s a trade-off.  Everyone just has to individually draw the line for themselves between convenience and cost.  And for some people that involves a moral component.  If a 400% profit on a transaction is abhorrent to them, I can understand that complaint.  But if 400% profit translates out to an extra $1.28… I can live with that, personally.

        1. You seem to be saying that gross market inefficiency is just dandy.  If a firm is making huge economic profit and there is not a rush of competition, lowering that profit, there is, by definition, something terribly wrong. (Which I think most Americans understand to be true about our economy.)

          1. I’m just saying that a business will always try to maximize its profit and it’s up to the consumer to say when enough is enough.  And if their excessive profits are acceptable to the consumer, then I guess it doesn’t matter now does it?

  3. an app with permission of FULL internet access while taking a picture of my cards…. sound perfectly safe. 

    1. There’s no other internet permissions on Android.  And it needs internet permissions so it can communicate with the servers to process the transaction.  And the communication is SSL encrypted.

  4. So if I’m standing in line at 7/11 I can just pop my phone out and discreetly snap a shot of the persons credit card in front of me?

    1. yes and no. you can do it if you choose, but it is linked to your bank account. when they dispute the charge you would be caught.

  5. Good luck getting your neighbor down the road to pay you for fixing her PC with this technology. I mean it sounds great, but no average person in their right mind is going to say OK to you snapping a pic of their credit card.

    Ive had a hard enough time getting people to let me swipe their card using Square.

    one a side note, these same people have no problem writing out a paper check with ALL of their information – account/routing number, phone number, address, etc. and handing it to any minimum wage worker at a checkout.

  6. Nice to see someone is making it easier for card fraudster to steal out money!

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