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AZ Tech Beat | September 23, 2017

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MoneyClip Mobile – Helping Customers Buy Stuff through their Smartphones

MoneyClip Mobile – Helping Customers Buy Stuff through their Smartphones
Lanni Solochek

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The concept of a “virtual wallet” has been developed and practiced for years, but there’s nothing quite as efficient and effective as MoneyClip Mobile. A two-part app for merchants and customers, MoneyClip Mobile negates the need for carrying a wallet full of credit cards. Created by Joshua Cross in 2011, the application allows customers to make purchases directly from their phone via text message, app or website. Customers purchases items using their credit or debit card or a bank account through an easy, quick, and secure process. Customers can also participate in loyalty programs, discount and reward programs, and receive ads and coupons.

For merchants, the app saves on card-processing fees and allows for direct engagement to customers with targeted ads, coupons, and customized loyalty programs. I spoke with CEO Joshua Cross about the development and future of MoneyClip Mobile.

How did your team conceptualize MoneyClip Mobile?

MoneyClip Mobile started by focusing on creating a secure text message platform for making payments using text messaging. Text messaging is very insecure; while we started there, we quickly evaluated the nascent and fast evolving mobile payment landscape and realized that we would do better with a product that allowed payment with text messages, apps, and through a website.

Additionally, we’ve built a platform for merchants to send ads, coupons, loyalty programs and gift cards to their customers’ mobile devices, in our app. We call this MoneyClip Rewards and its accessible through a “self-serve” kiosk on our website. Over the past two years, the idea and the MoneyClip Mobile products have evolved quite a bit.

Who funded you to do this?

We are funded through National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grants. We’ve received Phase 1, Phase 1B, and Phase 2 SBIR grants from the NSF. Additionally, the state of Nebraska has matched those NSF SBIR grants with Phase 1 and Phase 2 matching grants from the Department of Economic Development.

local dealsI understand that you are launching in multiple cities.

We’re currently launching all products in Flagstaff, AZ and Omaha, NE, the two cities in which we have offices. In Omaha, we’re preparing for a big launch event later this summer in a neighborhood called Aksarben Village. There will be about 10 merchants in the launch and it will happen in conjunction with a weekend summer concert series.

In Flagstaff, we beta tested last year with Flagstaff Chocolate Company, Jitters Lunchbox, Mother Road Brewery, and Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET). We’re currently relaunching and Jitters Lunchbox and Mother Road Brewery are setup and ready to accept payments.

Customers who sign up sometime in the next month and use MoneyClip Mobile to make transactions will receive $10 of credit for future purchases.

How do you secure a customer’s bank information?

MoneyClip Mobile doesn’t store any card information. MoneyClip Mobile “tokenizes” data. That means that we collect card info from customers and send it to a secure third-party who actually processes transactions. MoneyClip Mobile destroys all traces of the card data from our systems after we send it to our third-party processor and then we only deal with the token version of the card information.* Additionally, our servers are located in the Scott Data Center (in Omaha), which is certified for security and uptime and is used by Fortune 500 companies and some Defense Department functions.

What has been your involvement and experience with NACET?

MoneyClip Mobile has been a NACET client since we received our Phase 1 SBIR from the NSF; that was in the summer of 2011. It’s been a great experience. NACET’s facilities, mentors, and staff have been very helpful in a wide variety of capacities.

For more information on MoneyClip Mobile, click here.

*In addition, each transaction also requires a 5-character PIN-account and PIN information is not stored on your phone. Users are unable to change their PINs on their phone. Transactions are limited to a cumulative $300 daily limit. (Source: MoneyClip Mobile website)

 

  • I’m not clear on this. Is it a physical interface like NFC or RFID? Or is it more of just an SMS text messaging gateway for processing transactions? I’d like to know how the founders feel about NFC, wireless carriers’ censorship of the Google Wallet app (example: Verizon Wireless prohibits Wallet on their phones, even if the hardware supports NFC).

    • Joshua Cross, MoneyClip Mobile

      MoneyClip Mobile is not a physical interface; it is the second thing you note: a gateway for processing transactions. That gateway happens to be a webservice that we have built in conjunction with a third-party payment processor. Customers and merchants have access to that platform through our apps, text messages to our webservice (using Twilio), or our website. To pay, customers need not pull out their credit card or debit card; that information is securely tokenized in the user’s account.

      NFC (or the closely related RFID) is another interesting technology in the mobile payment space. It has advantages and disadvantages compared to other technologies. I think it is a complete tossup right now as to what kind of mobile payment technology – if any – will emerge as the most widely adopted.

      While I believe that wireless carriers’ censorship of rival technologies on their networks is shortsighted, I also believe that since it is their property, they can do with it what they will. Ultimately the market will reward or punish them for their decision.

      • Very cool, thanks for clarifying. Anything that makes it easier for the merchant and the customer to conduct business, the better. I like that the credit card never even passes to the vendor, preventing the likelihood of unshredded receipts and other forms of IRL security attacks.

        I agree with you — I hope the free market will reward technological innovation and not have carriers interfere with it.