Author: Sonya Mann / Source: Inc.com
The 2013 hack of its customer service database was an $18 million debacle for Target and a major nuisance to the 41 million customers affected. For the founders of credit card startup Final, the Target data breach was something more than that: the inspiration for a new business.
The young men were on vacation in Europe, bouncing from hostel to hostel. When their credit cards stopped working, they had to move money around, as well as borrow from friends to make ends meet.
The bank was going to ship them new cards — but to their addresses in the states. Trying to deal with phone-only customer service across wildly different time zones was a headache. Now-COO Andrew Dietrich found out that he was about to lose a chunk of his possessions at auction, because his recurring payment to the storage facility didn’t go through.
The frustrating experience made the Final founders realize that inaccessible payments impact consumers as much as merchants. They wanted to bridge the gap and do it safely. “You’re really giving the key to your account away with every purchase,” Dietrich said, since all that’s required to initiate a credit card transaction are the number and the expiration date.
The company born of that experience came out of beta on Tuesday. Now anyone can apply for an account at Final. However, users won’t be accepted unless they have sufficiently good credit. If you do, Final acts like a typical credit card system — it protects you from fraud. But not in the same way that any old credit card does. Final’s security features far exceed the status quo.
The company’s core value proposition is that it can act as a password manager for your credit card. Along with receiving a physical card for IRL payments, users can generate credit card numbers on demand. You’re able to create a new one for each purchase, or assign unique credit card numbers to every retailer. Users can specify how much money is allowed to flow through a given credit card.
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