Jumio-United deal opens up airline sector for secure smartphone camera check-in

A first deal in the airline sector for developer of visual payment and identification software developer Jumio is likely to be the first of many, the Palo Alto-based firm believes.

United Airlines has integrated the technology into its app allowing customers to check-in securely on their device using the camera on their smartphone.

The Jumio technology is capable of scanning the document to pre-populate the relevant online check-in fields (Fastfill) and verify its authenticity (Netverify) before the boarding pass is sent.


To date Jumio has been working with online travel agents like Kayak and the Priceline group on a similar functionality but around taking payments. It is also used by Airbnb for verification of owners.

However, the move into the airline sector has opened up a new market for the technology and further deals are expected to be announced following United’s adoption of the technology.

United is conducting a test of the passport scanning technology ahead of developing functionality for its new app which was launched last year and has been downloaded 13 million times.

Marc Barach, Jumio chief marketing officer, said: “What the technology does is translate the real world experience of checking in or making a payment when you have to show your identity to the connected device environment.

“So we built technology around utilising the device camera that enables our clients to embed this technology into their mobile applications or desktops to expedite all the processes around payment and around identification.”

United customers who are checking-in online during the 24 hours before departure will fire up the Jumio technology at the point at which they are prompted to enter their passport details.

This then automatically initiates the device’s camera which then reads the information. No image is taken and no data is stored on the device locally or by Jumio.

Behind the scenes that data is then verified and any issues flagged or the documents are approved, a process that takes 60 seconds and is said to be more reliable than the human eye.

Airlines are liable for any customer who boards an aircraft without a passport, so current online check- in procedures still require a manual check at the airport.

With this technology travellers can go straight to security unless they need to drop a bag.

“This is a perfect use case of making a process better for the consumer. Actually it increases security for the airline because a desk employee just glances at your passport and can’t tell if a date has been changed. So it’s a win, win. It’s on fire with United,” said Barach.

“Everyone who transacts online will need something like this in the future because it just makes sense due to time savings and higher quality transactions.”

An advantage for clients using Jumio for payments is that it is compliant with all data protection regulations meaning its partners don’t have to go through that process.

In the future Jumio will move to a situation in which the data can be uploaded via a device scan just once and used for multiple transactions as opposed to having to do it for each transaction as is currently the case.

It will also introduce a dual process for checkout that merges two scans of ID and delivery address and payment details and will cross-check that information to verify all the details of the transaction and flag up any fraud issues.

Jumio hopes a future application of the technology will be in hotels for remote check-in although hoteliers today continue to favour face-to-face check-in to verify identity and as a customer service opportunity.

But it says identity verification, although this is where the potential liability lies, is where the opportunity lies because that is the key to everything.

“The real battleground is on the ID side of things. In late 2012 when Google Wallet appeared it was all about ID, but then that all disappeared and now it’s all about payments because it’s a complicated and difficult business. We know because we are in it. Google found that out for themselves,” said Barach.

Jumio was established four years ago but has only been targeting driving business in the UK since last year with travel its third vertical behind gambling and financial services.

It provides the technology on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis with a flat monthly fee based on transaction volumes.

It claims the technology is simple to integrate into an app and would take a junior developer only around half an hour to complete.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Learn more