Security & Fraud

Startup Touts Safer Online Payments

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A new startup named Privacy is aiming to change the way consumers shop online with the use of virtual debit cards that can be created for each online transaction.

The concept of creating a virtual burner card each time a consumer needs to process a payment online using their card data is designed to ultimately help safeguard that sensitive financial information.

Privacy works with a Google Chrome Web browser extension, allowing a shopper to click the Privacy icon whenever they are on an eCommerce page where they want to make a payment — generating a new virtual Visa debit card for that particular website.

The service connects directly to a bank account to withdraw the fund, with TechCrunch reporting late last week that Privacy is currently working with the big U.S. banks, as well as a few others.

According to TechCrunch, Privacy’s offering stands out for being quite useful and safe for consumers because it provides more protection than simply entering real payment card data on the Internet. It works with subscriptions, it’s free and it can work with any billing address.

As an issuer, Privacy makes its money by actually processing the payments, which it receives a small cut of each time a payment processor charges a card.

“We’re planning to add [debit card and check signups] as funding options later,” Privacy CEO Bo Jiang told PCWorld via email. “But instant account verification [bank login] was the fastest and lowest friction way of doing so. It also helps us reduce fraud.”

The company confirmed its service is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant and uses a 256-bit encryption key to secure payment details, while also passing login and bank details over a secure TLS (SSL) connection.

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