December 18, 2014
If you are reading this now I would wager you probably have a credit card. I would wager you probably have multiple credit cards. I would wager you have probably used those credit cards throughout this festive holiday season to purchase gifts, gas, a warm hot chocolate, and many other day-to-day purchases people never generally think on all that much.
Many people go about their lives swiping these pieces of plastic without a thought in the world of their security. Credit cards themselves usually have favorable consumer protections in place in the case of credit card fraud, data breach, number skimming, and a multitude of other little nasty surprises can happen that have lulled some consumers into a sense of security that they are covered in case something goes wrong and for the most part that is correct.
The real problem comes after you have found a problem and rang up your bank to let them know. Sure the bank will handle the financial aspect but there is what I like to call the consumer aspect that is left to be dealt with, and the problems that can arise will often make one just as uneasy and cause just as many problems as the original fraud.
The consumer aspect is that after you’ve dotted your Is and cross the Ts, your bank then has to issue you a new card, you have to wait for it in the mail (sometimes weeks!), and maybe you really needed it to make a purchase and now you can’t. Perhaps a last-minute Christmas gift? You also now have to go online once you get the card and change all those pesky accounts that are set up to use it if you can even remember them all! You may have a Netflix and Hulu subscription, your Amazon Prime membership, membership to the gym, on and on all with that one card.
Enter startup Final to try to ease all the stress that comes with credit card fraud, data breaches, and all those other nasties by issuing you a single credit card (with EMV chip and pin) with the ability to generate an entirely unique number for every transaction, but the awesomeness doesn’t end there.
Final is a company out of Boulder that went through their TechStars program and came out from the accelerator bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to solve a problem in a refined and beautiful way. Their team currently consists of their CEO Matt Rothstein, CTO Aaron Frank, COO Andrew Dietrich and their VP’s of Product and Marketing Davis Godbout and Ben Apel respectively. They will also be relocating to the city of San Francisco early 2015 which will coincidence with their (hopeful) product release to those on their beta waiting list.
As mentioned Final is a card that will dynamically generate a unique 16 digit card number every time you swipe the card at a terminal. Did you have your card numbers compromised in the latest breach? You can keep on using your Final card and not have a care in the world as those numbers won’t do a thief a lick of good. Do you use those gas pumps outside that companies warn their customers may have skimmers? No problem there either.
Final also offers customers complete control over their finances. You can deactivate numbers on the fly, limit the amount of money a merchant can charge you and receive a notice on your phone if they exceed that limit. You will have a portal available online to track your expenses (much like Mint) and even have them pushed directly to your mobile device. For those who do most of their shopping online they will have browser extensions that will allow you to also dynamically generate numbers at your request.
When I reached out to the folks over at Final they were very enthusiastic and addicting in their belief that the credit card industry itself is long overdue for a change, and that change should benefit the consumer. As with any credit card the Final card will allow you to build up your credit history, however they are focused on releasing in the U.S. market at the moment with plans to expand internationally. For those traveling however you can still use your card as you normally would. The application process for Final will be akin to any other credit card app and subject to approval. They also plan to offer a rewards program to be released later.
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