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Online purchasing through a webcam?

Posting in Science

Many people do not feel safe sending their credit card details out into web - how about a visual identification system?

Startup Jumio is introducing Netverify, a new tool which enables merchants to verify a customer's identification documents using any camera-connected device.

After unveiling its Netswipe product in July 2011, Jumio has now raised Series B funding in the second round worth $25.5 million, which includes prominent social backers such as Andreessen Horowitz, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Match.com founder Peng T.

Not only this, but the Mountain View-based company has formally introduced Netverify, a security development which can read identification documents via webcam.

The fledgling company focuses on digital payments, and its technology allows a user to simply hold their credit card up to either a computer or iOS device's camera -- whether a smartphone or tablet -- in order to make a payment online. Android functionality is currently being developed.

Now, its patent-pending addition Netverify allows merchants to scan an identification card, such as a driving license, to approve and authenticate a purchase. The concept behind the technology is to help combat fraud for both merchants and customers, by both removing the requirement to manually enter or store credit card information, and create instead the digital equivalent of being asked for I.D. at your local store.

Scott Weiss, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz and Jumio's latest addition to the board said in a statement:

"Daniel and the Jumio team understand the challenges facing online merchants when it comes to battling credit card and identity fraud because they're dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneurs themselves and they have encountered the problems that Jumio aims to solve. Jumio's technology is a huge leap forward for online payments with potential to transform even more industries."

The future ramifications of such technology are vast. Most of us expect to be asked for identification sometimes when ordering a drink at the bar or purchasing cigarettes in a store, but how could this concept be applied to social media sites or eCommerce?

It has the potential to limit credit card fraud, and this is already appreciated considering the serious financial backing the startup has already acquired. Not only this, but Netverify could also be used across other industries -- such as passport identification, for tax purposes or in order to open accounts for a range of online services.

Image credit: GL Barone

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure