June 22nd, 2014 | 3 MIN READ

Can Card Scanning Solve Mobile Checkout Abandonment?

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

68% of smartphone and tablet owners have attempted to make a purchase through their device, and 66% report they've encountered obstacles that prevented them from completing checkout. 47% of respondents say checkout "took too long" according to a survey by Harris Interactive.

Credit card input is one of the big hassles of mobile checkout. It's not as easy to type on mobile as desktop, and "fat fingers" can easily cause errors and frustrate customers. Netswipe (whose parent company Jumio commissioned the HI study) offers a card scanning a solution that can be integrated into an ecommerce app. Netswipe claims its card scanning feature takes 5 seconds, versus 60 seconds that the average keyboard input takes.

Travelocity first trialled Netswipe on its LastMinute brand app, and rolled it out to its flagship Travelocity app after testing showed conversion rates of 52% for users offered card scanning versus 9% for keyboard input.

Apple's upcoming iOS8 will enable iPhone and iPad users using the Safari browser to scan credit cards in checkouts using the device's camera. When Safari detects a credit card input field, the iOS8 user will be prompted with a Scan Credit Card option, and optical character recognition translates the photo into characters in the field (there is no special programming required on behalf of the retailer).


Image credit: Apple Insider

Though convenient for retailers, Apple's feature won't work with Chrome and Firefox users, nor with apps. Paid solutions like ScanPay, card.io and Netswipe are options for ecommerce apps, and Netswipe can integrate the feature into dot-coms and used even with a desktop camera. If this is a feature you want to offer to improve conversion rates, its best to not rely on iOS capabilities and invest in your own solution.

Though vendors claim card recognition is more secure than keyboard input, as fraudsters are less likely to hold the physical card, avoid making this feature the only way to provide credit card input. Some mobile users have card information memorized, already have their information contained in their browser's autofill, or otherwise don't want to use the camera feature.

Will card scanning solve mobile cart abandonment?

Not entirely. Travelocity's trial results are impressive, but keep in mind your mileage may vary. Last-minute travel booking sites attract visitors with immediate conversion intent, and funnel abandonment may be more likely due to poor usability than ADD or simply "I'm saving this decision for later" behavior.

There are other reasons why mobile carts are abandoned. A large portion of survey respondents (56% of women and 47% of men) don't feel secure entering credit card information at all. Offering alternative payment options like PayPal, features like saving or emailing cart contents to the web and providing security assurances are all part of mobile checkout optimization. Form optimization (such as removing unnecessary fields), using autofill and guest checkout are other key ingredients.

Hat tip to Luke Starbuck from the Mobify Blog who shared this tip at our recent Ecommerce Vancouver Meetup.

Share on


Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive a welcome email shortly.

By submitting this you agree with our privacy policy.