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article imageInterview: Secure shopping online made easy Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 1, 2018 in Business
Token is a mobile app that enables you to shop securely by disguising your payment details. To understand how this works, and the advantages for businesses and consumers, Digital Journal spoke with Zohar Steinberg.
Using secure and sophisticated algorithms, the Token app creates an alter ego-like identity for a user’s credit cards. This means each user does not need to use his or her payment information.
To discover more, Digital Journal caught up with Zohar Steinberg, Founder and CEO of Token.
Digital Journal: What are some of the main cybersecurity risks facing businesses and consumers?
Zohar Steinberg: One main concern is that customers’ data are not properly stored or protected by businesses. The merchants’ main focus is about products and services, instead of data security. Consumers are encouraged to “save their payment info for future check out”, while many retailers and other businesses get breached all the time.
Businesses that fail to protect customers’ data risk losing business from customers that will stop trusting and boycotting them. It’s a long-term and worthwhile investment.
Depicting the idea of online shopping
Depicting the idea of online shopping
Via Flickr user StormKatt (CC BY 2.0)
DJ: What are the chances of someone having their identity stolen online?
Steinberg: It is not a question of “if” but is definitely a question of “when”. 145 million identities were stolen from Equifax, hundreds of millions of payment identities are stolen every year, and digital identities like email are hacked in billions records.
Now the question is “what.” What can we do to prevent our identities from being stolen online?
DJ: What can people do to protect themselves?
Steinberg: Common sense — check your bank statement, change your passwords, freeze your credit, don’t give away your credit card, and don’t trust merchants blindly.
Proactively use fraud prevention tools. Apple Pay and Android pay for card present transactions (in Store), while other solutions consist of mostly token-based solutions for CNP transactions (0nline and over the phone)
DJ: Why did you decide to develop Token?
Steinberg: I was using PayPal whenever I could, but PayPal doesn't work everywhere online (Amazon, lowe’s, ATT, Verizon, and so on), and doesn't work at all when paying over the phone, so I experienced credit card fraud multiple times.
I believe that technology can solve many of the issues we face, and if such technology is not used, someone benefits from the status quo.
Merchants and banks face an inherent conflict of interest — growing their business and processing higher volumes of transaction versus protecting their customer data. Save the customer’s payment information and risk a breach, or choose not to save the card on file but potentially lose the business. A security-only focused company doesn't have this conflict, as it is focused solely on protecting consumers’ data and thrives when people are protected.
DJ: How does Token work to protect identities?
Steinberg: We follow the basic rules of data security — if you want to protect your information, don’t share it in the first place. To enable that we developed our own version of tokenization that can be used by everyday consumers on the go.
In regards to payments, hackers cannot steal what merchants do not have, so if you do not save your REAL payment information at a store’s website, there is nothing for the hackers to steal.
DJ: Was the software difficult to develop?
Steinberg: Developing the software was challenging, but developing the product was very hard. When you develop a new disruptive product in a traditional industry, the barrier to enter the market is not always on the technology side but on the partnerships, the compliance. It is on breaking misconceptions and sometimes having to prove that you are not what someone thinks you are, based on facts and concepts they are familiar with.
Developing the product also required a unique skill set and experience from multiple disciplines that usually do not co-exist: data security, payments, user behavior, consumers’ journey, marketing, fintech development, etc.
DJ: Does Token appeal to businesses and consumers?
Steinberg: The Token app is for consumers that want to experience peace of mind. We were approached by many small businesses that look for the same functionalities and we will be releasing a business version of the Token app in the near future.
When looking at overall payment fraud costs, most of the damage is shouldered by merchants. By supporting customers to pay with Token, these merchants can experience a lower rate of payment fraud, protecting their margins.
We are also developing a solution to protect the merchants side, that will reduce the risk from fraudulent transactions by offering them a transaction guarantee when their customers use Token to checkout.
DJ: How do you ensure Token is up-to-date against new threat emerging?
Steinberg: Unlike retailers, service providers or even payment companies, our business is security, we do not have a conflict of interest between growing our business and protecting customers information, our system is designed to protect our customers and their information.
We do not save information we do not need, we only validate every new user identity (to make sure that they are who they say they are and not someone else trying to impersonate them).
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