Tuesday, October 10, 2006

TrueMe Is A Precursor to Online PIN Debit

TrueMe ID Is a Precursor to Online Payments, Pay By Touch Says

Pay By Touch Inc., which on Monday introduced a new, personal-computer-based authentication service based on fingerprint identification, plans to couple the new service with online payments and loyalty programs some time in the first half of 2007.

The new product, called TrueMe, relies on the San Francisco company’s technology, along with fingerprint sensors from UPEK Inc., Emeryville, Calif., to authenticate consumers when they log into Web sites.

Pay By Touch says it expects TrueMe to help combat phishing, keylogging, and other frauds plaguing the Internet. “Home users are the most targeted attack sector [for fraudsters],” says Jon Siegal, executive vice president at Pay By Touch. “It’s a big problem.”

The first Web site to adopt the product is Salesforce.com, a provider of customer-management systems that has half a million users. Siegal says more sites are in the pipeline, including an application involving remote deposit capture, the process by which paper checks are truncated into electronic image files for processing.

At the same time, Pay By Touch has certified fingerprint sensors already built in to the X60 and the T60 laptops made by Lenovo Group Ltd. For users with machines that lack integrated sensors, Pay By Touch has arranged with UPEK to produce USB-enabled external devices.

TrueMe is the first of a series of online applications Pay By Touch, which specializes in authenticating point-of-sale payments for supermarkets and other stores, plans to introduce over the next 12 months, Siegal says.

He says an online version of Pay By Touch’s payments product will arrive during the first half of next year and will rely on TrueMe to authenticate users. In February, Pay By Touch announced a product for Web-based payments, called Pay By Touch Online, that included sign-in and multifactor authentication applications (Digital Transactions News, Feb 6). Siegal says TrueMe is essentially these two components of Pay By Touch Online.

“This is the first service made available under Pay By Touch Online,” he says. “This is the first chapter of the story.”

Siegal says the company originally intended to introduce the sign-in and authentication components in the spring, but found the technologies behind the product needed more work.

This included the technology behind the fingerprint sensors. “We weren’t able to deliver in the spring time,” he says, adding Pay By Touch wanted to make sure “the technologies and user experience were where they needed to be.” He says, though, that the company’s plan all along was to introduce serially the Pay By Touch Online components as stand-alone products.

“It’s safe to say we expect within 12 months to have millions of users of our Internet-based services,” including the yet-to-be-introduced payments and loyalty components, Siegal says.

Wow, that's a very powerful statement, but remember, Pay By Touch gets a big boost when Microsoft's Windows Vista, is released in early 2007.

Pay By Touch is an integral part of a "who's who in payments" consortium with Microsoft Vista financial services platform called "PASS" (Payments as a Secure Service) which will boost PBT enrollment on both the business and personal end. The PASS services are expected to be fully implemented by the time Vista launches early in 2007.

In addition to combating phishing and other online frauds, TrueMe will help banks meet stringent guidelines issued last year by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, Pay By Touch says.

By the end of 2006, financial institutions must have in place a workable plan to authenticate online-banking customers by means more robust than standard user-name/password combinations, according to the guideline.

We absolutely believe TrueMe satisfies the FFIEC guidance,” Siegal says. “It presents a significant business opportunity for us.”

Pay By Touch, which recently reached the 3-million mark in consumers enrolled for its POS service, has installed its system in 2,400 stores. In addition, it processes card transactions for some 125,000 merchant locations and Web sites as a result of its acquisition last year of CardSystems Inc., a merchant-acquiring processor.

The plan is for the company to continue to sign on new merchants while forging a market presence in Canada and the U.K. in the coming weeks.

And one of its units, ATM Direct Inc., is marketing an online-payments service, unrelated to Pay By Touch Online (until later...) that lets consumers use their PIN debit cards to pay e-commerce sites.

That's when this unit will ring like a cash register for Pay By Touch and it's shareholders.

Pay By Touch

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Scottsdale, Arizona, United States