Jumio Aims to Modernize Mobile Commerce with Camera Tech

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Shopping and banking on a mobile device has always been clunky, as processes designed for a full screen and keyboard have often been crushed inelegantly to fit a smartphone's much smaller screen.

Jumio is working to use a smartphone's hardware to overcome these limitations. Its Fastfill service, launched this week, allows consumers to use a smartphone's or tablet's camera to fill in identifying details by scanning them from a driver's license, national ID card or passport.

"Mobile commerce applications have leapt forward in terms of their utility and functionality, [but] their processes are still stuck in yesteryear," says Marc Barach, Jumio's chief marketing officer.

Jumio offers similar camera-based technology that lets consumers scan their credit and debit cards to provide payment information for online and mobile shopping and scan ID cards as an authentication measure.

Fastfill adapts this technology to help consumers provide information when opening an account with a merchant. "We're using the camera to make business processes more efficient and more secure," Barach says.

The news comes at a time when some banks are testing ways to simplify mobile checkouts. U.S. Bancorp, for example, plans to pitch companies on software that's designed to quicken purchases through a mobile app.

The Fastfill service, meanwhile, is also meant to prevent mobile shoppers from walking away from a transaction before it is completed, Barach says. Forty-five percent of adults in the United Kingdom claim to have abandoned online transactions from account opening to making a purchase due to the length of time and complexity to enter their information and confirm their identity, according to research from Experian.

A full 37% of internet users in a dozen European countries are already using mobile banking services, according to the Financial Empowerment in a Digital Age report released by ING last summer. A separate poll commissioned by Jumio and conducted by Harris Interactive last year showed that 72% of respondents are within five feet of their smartphones the majority of time.

Jumio may be attacking a genuine pain point, says Mary T. Monahan, executive vice president and research director for mobile for Javelin Strategy & Research, a division of Greenwich Associates. Despite the draw of mobile commerce, Monahan says that one in ten applicants will abandon a new account because the process takes too long (13%) or is too complicated (9%).

Consumers also favor the larger screens of tablets over the smaller screens of smartphones when shopping, according to research Javelin published Feb. 12.

"Tools like Jumio's Fastfill are needed to improve the conversion rate and simplify the process," Monahan says. "What is merely cumbersome in an online world, for example, typing in your credit card information, when you move to a mobile world, becomes a true impediment to a sales conversion."

However, Jumio's service faces the same challenges mobile check scanning services did when first introduced, Monahan says.

"The biggest hurdle will be poor images," she says. "It has to be fast, accurate and secure for customers. If the customer has to submit multiple images, then the time savings and convenience will be lost."

Founded in Vienna in 2010, Jumio is now headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., and does about 60% of its business in the United States with the remainder in Europe. The company is known for its Netswipe and Netverify services, which scan credit and debit cards at online or mobile checkouts and verify the validity of identification, respectively.

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