New Innovator: TouchTech Payments

Fintech start-up’s online authentication software product tackling credit card fraud

Co-founder of TouchTech Payments Shekinah Adewumi: he says his product helps improve the online shopping experience for consumers

Co-founder of TouchTech Payments Shekinah Adewumi: he says his product helps improve the online shopping experience for consumers

 

Shekinah Adewumi (20) and Joseph Kuye (19) are the co-founders of fintech start-up TouchTech Payments. Their product is a new online authentication software product designed to reduce card fraud, increase the number of transactions completed online and make it easier for people to cyber shop.

“One of the largest contributors to online credit card fraud is the lack of proof that the cardholder is in possession of the card at the time of purchase. Our system solves this problem,” Adewumi says.

“A separate issue for retailers is that the current method of purchasing online is a 13-step process whereby consumers must manually input card details followed by a ‘Verified by Visa’ authentication. This final step alone results in a third of all purchases not being completed. Our system does away with this manual entry requirement.”

TouchTech’s product is called TAP (transaction authentication platform) and it is based around the use of the NFC (near field communication) chips. These chips are used to transfer information from one mobile device to another and are becoming very common in smartphones and credit card terminals.

TouchTech has used NFC technology to enable consumers to create a mobile wallet on their smartphone that stores a representation of their credit/debit card information.

“This takes the form of a secure app and is downloaded from the App Store to the consumer’s phone. It then allows the customer to check out in three simple steps without ever needing to manually enter card details, thereby acting as a replacement to ‘Verified by Visa’,” Adewumi says.

Once active, it allows online shoppers to verify their information by tapping their card on the phone or using a fingerprint or a PIN. Adewumi says that while the system will certainly have appeal for card companies, retailers too will benefit as consumers are likely to buy more if the checkout experience is seamless.

Brainstorm

“Joseph had noticed that his phone could recognise the presence of an NFC chip on his student card and we knew these chips can be used to transfer payment information whereby all you have to do is tap your card on your phone to complete a transaction.”

Adewumi is studying engineering at DCU while Kuye is studying management science at Trinity College Dublin. Both have taken time out to set up their company which is now employing seven people.

The product had its soft launch in 2014 and there has already been interest in TAP from Ulster Bank and Citibank here. The company is now in the process of securing a number of trial sites.

Adewumi and Kuye are currently taking part in UStart, a student entrepreneur programme run by Dublin City University. The four-month programme is open to all DCU students and in addition to €5,000 in seed capital, it provides participants with mentoring, networking opportunities within the start-up community and the opportunity to pitch to potential investors.

To date the partners have raised €300,000 in funding from angel investors and have plans to raise an additional €1 million by the end of the year.

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