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NEW YORK (March 1, 2019) – Payfone, the world’s leading digital identity authentication network dedicated to bringing Trust to the digital world based on their consumer-first Bill of Trust, announces that it has expanded its digital identity verification coverage to 90% of U.S. adults for all active mobile, fixed and non-fixed VoIP and landlines.* Additionally, Payfone is extending its Zero-Knowledge architecture, a privacy safe haven first introduced in 2015, to now include Authoritative Identity Verification partners, such as mobile network operators and financial institutions.
These two milestones represent major developments in the identity authentication leader’s strategy to harmonize trust, privacy and consumer experience in the digital world, and extend these benefits across the United States. This expanded reach means that Payfone can extend its KYC/AML identity verification and fraud prevention solutions to even more people, which is critical as more and more consumers rely on mobile devices as their primary form of interacting with businesses and each other.
“Over the past few years, Payfone’s commitment to fraud prevention has led us to focus on bringing these benefits to all individuals in the U.S., including the underbanked. Digital KYC and AML services need to be available to all, including those with pre-paid phones, those who are on family plans, and even those with small business and corporate phones,” said Rodger Desai, CEO and Co-Founder of Payfone. “As we continue the journey in 2019, we plan to expand our reach by adding coverage for lifeline phones, hybrid WiFi-Cellular plans, as well as eSIM.”
In addition to expanding coverage, the sharing of Payfone’s Zero-Knowledge architecture raises the bar for consumer data privacy for the entire industry. Zero-Knowledge architecture enables a Relying Party to verify a claim, such as age, through Payfone without personal information being passed back, stored, or aggregated.
“We have been using Zero-Knowledge for our customers (Relying Parties) since 2015,” explained Desai. “Now we are extending our Zero-Knowledge architecture to Service Providers and Authoritative Identity Verification partners to accelerate the modernization of the industry’s ecosystem. Thwarting fraud does not need to come at the expense of data privacy.”
“The telecom industry and American public are currently plagued by robocalls, SS7 attacks, SIM swap scams and porting fraud,” said Michelle Wheeler, Payfone SVP of Industry Relations and CTIA board member. “Solutions like this, which allow consumers to participate in the digital economy without fear of getting scammed or worrying about their data privacy being compromised, are welcomed news for the industry.”
*Based on independent third-party data studies with Fortune 500 companies in the fields of Financial Services, Healthcare, Insurance and Retail.
Payfone’s mission is to bring Trust to the digital world and enable enterprises and their customers to enjoy experiences that are fast, frictionless and fraud-free. Payfone’s award-winning Trust Platform™ and Trust Score™ give enterprises the power to give their customers safer and better digital experiences by issuing real-time Trust Scores. Our zero-knowledge Trust Platform™ orchestrates the verification of identity claims with an ecosystem of authoritative partners within a privacy-first framework. Payfone provides digital authentication services for 6 of the top 10 financial institutions, and leading healthcare, insurance, technology and retail companies. Learn more at www.payfone.com and linkedin.com/company/payfone.
Payfone’s CEO and Founder Rodger Desai recently sat down with David Birch, Director at electronic transactions consultancy Consult Hyperion, to answer the ‘tough’ questions about industry challenges and how Payfone’s ‘call to arms’ regarding Zero-Knowledge can really impact the digital world.
Desai: Yes, these interests can co-exist; in fact, in our view, they must. Security and the desire for convenience should not override privacy, but you can’t have privacy without security. And since laws and regulations lag technology, GDPR and CCPA may not capture the full scope of the privacy protections consumers require. It comes down to having a strong set of principles that guide how products are built and used. Payfone’s Bill of Trust is our set of principles that we use to guide our actions that go beyond what may be required by regulators today.
Desai: Our view is that even with compliance obligations such as KYC/AML, GLBA exceptions and the GDPR’s notion of Legitimate Interest, consumers expect to always be informed, have the collection of their personal information limited to only what is minimally required, and their consent collected.
Desai: No, that is a common thought every time technology advances. Privacy is a constant renegotiation of the boundaries between individuals and society. History has shown that if society overreaches, innovation and personal rights suffer.
Desai: We think Zero-Knowledge is key to the way businesses will work with each other in digital. Gone are the days where the industry needs to aggregate personal data and somehow protect it. Our mission is to accelerate the digital economy to a world where privacy is not compromised, while protecting from fraud and cyber-threats. Service Providers such as mobile operators and financial institutions play a critical role in the ecosystem, and Zero-Knowledge can allow them to participate safely.
Desai: Yes. While we have never used mobile operator location data at Payfone, there are important and legitimate cases where location can help protect consumers. If a bank would like to ask if a customer’s phone is in the city where an unusual transaction is taking place, then the bank, with consumer consent, can ask a Service Provider if the phone is in that city. The answer should be yes or no, and the actual city the consumer is in should not be returned or revealed. That’s Zero-Knowledge.
Desai: As we just announced today, due to the sophistication of our platform and our focus on redundancy and inclusion, we have many authoritative identity verification partners. We cover 90% of U.S. adults across mobile, VoIP and landline, even pre-paid, family plans, and businesses. Additionally, since we tap into core telecom infrastructure, the way the mobile operators themselves do, we are less reliant on mobile operators directly.
Desai: Yes, especially with the need to thwart SS7 attacks, SIM swaps, robo calls and spoofed calls. These are among the top complaints the FCC receives from consumers. Mobile operators are adopting Zero-Knowledge protocols which will help prevent fraudulent activities, modernize their processes and protect their subscribers and customer data even further.
Desai: We have been on a journey to accelerate the industry to a world that fulfills our Bill of Trust. Today the focus is on expanding our coverage and Zero-Knowledge. Later this year we will introduce new tools for consumers to take control of aspects of their mobile identity. It’s time to create additional tools that accelerate self-sovereignty.