NEW YORK (April 17, 2019) – Payfone, an award-winning digital identity authentication leader, today announced the closing of a $24 million funding round led by TransUnion (NYSE: TRU), a global leader in information solutions, with participation from existing investors Synchrony (NYSE: SYF), a premier consumer financial services company; MassMutual Ventures, the venture fund of leading mutual life insurance company Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual); and Wellington Management LLP.
TransUnion’s investment in Payfone underscores a new strategic partnership that will leverage the two companies’ complementary missions and capabilities to accelerate the global digital economy.
TransUnion will enhance its existing IDVision® with iovation® suite of products by integrating Payfone’s Trust Platform™ and Trust Score™, enabling businesses to overcome the historical tradeoff between security, convenience, and privacy. Payfone also announced that TransUnion will become Payfone’s primary partner for regulated identity verification information.
Despite the fact that it is estimated that 98% of online transactions are legitimate, the digital economy suffers from a ‘Trust Gap’ in which the fear of cyberattacks, synthetic fraud, and stolen identities leads to falsely declined transactions and ever-mounting fraud losses. Powerful, proprietary algorithms enable Payfone’s Trust Score™ to close the Trust Gap, allowing businesses to approve more transactions instantly, while thwarting fraud.
“The fear of identity fraud and cyberattacks holds the digital economy back from its full potential,” said Rodger Desai, CEO of Payfone. “For example, in lending, it’s striking that today five times more loan applications are approved in-person than on-line, despite credit -worthiness. With our partnership with TransUnion, we can now leverage TransUnion’s footprint of more than 30 countries to help expand our Trust Score™ around the globe, allowing billions of additional consumers to safely access digital services.”
“We’ve had a relationship with Payfone since 2017, recognizing the incredible value they bring to fraud prevention. Within this new strategic partnership, we anticipate supporting Payfone’s expansion to new markets and looking at other uses of their products throughout our organization, said Geoff Miller, Senior Vice President of Global Fraud and Identity Solutions, TransUnion. “We are both committed to protecting consumers, focusing on data privacy and building trust with our customers, and the combination of our solutions will create a better, more seamless experience for everyone.”
In March, Payfone announced the next phase of their Zero-Knowledge architecture, which enables identity verification partners, such as mobile network operators, to verify consumer and business identities without consumer information being passed, stored, or aggregated. In 2018, the company authenticated 20 billion transactions for Fortune 500 companies using this privacy-first approach, and it expects to double that number in 2019. Click here to learn more about Payfone’s privacy-first Bill of Trust.
As part of the funding round, Miller will join Payfone’s Board of Directors.
Payfone’s award-winning Trust Platform™ and Trust Score™ bring trust to the digital economy by enabling businesses to instantly verify customers while thwarting fraud and cyberattacks in real-time; all within a privacy-first, zero-knowledge framework. Payfone serves 6 of the top 10 US financial institutions, and leading healthcare, insurance, technology and retail companies. Learn more at payfone.com and linkedin.com/company/payfone.
About TransUnion (NYSE: TRU)
Information is a powerful thing. At TransUnion, we realize that. We are dedicated to finding innovative ways information can be used to help individuals make better and smarter decisions. We help uncover unique stories, trends and insights behind each data point, using historical information as well as alternative data sources. This allows a variety of markets and businesses to better manage risk and consumers to better manage their credit, personal information and identity. Today, TransUnion has a global presence in more than 30 countries and a leading presence in several international markets across North America, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Through the power of information, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies and families and safer communities worldwide.
We call this Information for Good℠. www.transunion.com
Today, Payfone received coverage in The Nilson Report, a bi-weekly global publication which reaches more than 2,000 financial institutions and enterprises worldwide in the global card and mobile payments space. The article, entitled ‘Payfone Token Protection for Digital Transactions’, profiles Payfone’s unique differentiators that allow us to ‘close the trust gap’, as well as our and zero-knowledge architecture for privacy.
Read the full article here.
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.
Payfone held our very first ‘Wine & Time” Executive Experience last week in Atlanta. The event, held at City Winery in the popular Ponce City Market complex, was a great success, and was well-attended by Atlanta-area executives interested in learning how time and trust are the new KPIs reshuffling the Fortune 500. The evening was filled with delicious food, lively conversation about creating fast, frictionless and fraud-free experiences, and, of course, free-flowing bottles of excellent wine!
The event was held at City Winery, a unique bar and restaurant with an on-site winery.
The evening began in the “Den” where attendees heard from 2-time TEDx-speaker and Olympic Silver medalist John K. Coyle (‘The Time Guy’) about the science behind how humans perceive time, and how brands can apply that science to vastly improve the customer experience. John drew the crowd in with a vivid story about his Olympic speed skating days, and then touched upon how mere milliseconds can decide the difference between winners and losers – whether you’re competing in sports or in business.
Rodger Desai, Payfone’s Founder and CEO, and Kathleen Waid, Payfone Senior Vice President of New Business, gave guests an overview of Payfone’s mission of allowing brands to take back their customer experiences from fraudsters by delivering digital trust through our Trust Platform™ and Trust Score™.
Afterwards, attendees spread out into the Den landing and had the chance to receive their own personal Trust Scores from Atlanta-based Sales Engineer Caitlyn Livingston to see how the technology works.
Every attendee went home with a personal gift and a signed copy of John K. Coyle’s book, Design for Strengths.
Thank you to everyone who attended! It was an immense success and now we’re busy planning our next ‘Wine & Time’ event.