In the race to turn cellphones into credit card readers comes a new app that does just that.
Card.io unveiled a mobile application that allows cellphone users to accept credit card transactions by taking a picture of a credit card with their phone and sending a receipt by email to the card's owner. The app supports Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards.
The technology builds on an earlier app that card.io introduced this summer that allowed consumers to fill in their credit card information at an online checkout by simply snapping a picture of their credit card. The goal was to make completing mobile transactions easier without having to use the teeny-tiny keyboards on smartphones.
The new credit card reader function appears to be in competition with Square (except sans little plastic scanner). But Card.io says its target users are everyday people rather than merchants, according to an article on TechCrunch. The company envisions consumers using the app to split a lunch bill, borrow money or jointly pay for gas.
There is a small fee for every transaction: 30 cents plus 3.5 percent of the total. That means to "go Dutch" on a first date using card.io's app, you'll need to pay an extra $3.80 on a $100 restaurant tab. (Square charges 2.75 percent of the transaction total for each swipe.)
Card.io is almost mum about its security methods, according to the TechCrunch article, only saying that it has protections in place.
Let me know if you encounter card.io or Square. I'd love to know who is using it.
Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.