Steve Bacastow, MobileBioSecure: ‘The two biggest challenges for online merchants are fraud and false declines’

12 May 2017

Biometric authentication is closely entwining financial aspects of our lives, making transaction authorization more secure and, which is the foremost, more convenient, removing conservative and often cumbersome safety tools such as password or PIN-code entry and allowing users to complete their payment operations with just a swipe of a finger or a selfie shoot on a mobile device. According to a recent report by Juniper Research “mobile biometric payment volumes will triple this year to nearly 2 billion. In large part this growth will continue to be driven by greater adoption of Apple Pay for both offline and online payments, but we are now seeing other wallets incorporating biometrics gaining traction”. Today we have an exciting opportunity to obtain a rapid-fire interview with Steve Bacastow, a founder of MobileBioSecure, a biometric solution for ensuring security of online or mobile transactions, sharing some quick facts about his startup.

Please, introduce your company, tell us a little about your main activity.

MobileBioSecure is a concept created by Atlanta, GA, based payment-industry consultancy Collective Dynamics, Inc. The primary goal of Collective Dynamics is to develop and commercialize its multiple issued-patents in the area of payment transaction authentication and payment tokenization.

Biometric authentication is a concurrent trend in the fintech sector, how did you come to work out in this area?

We were fortunate to come up with the key concepts almost 10 years ago while working with the major, US-based PIN debit networks. The original solution was targeted to the PIN networks as an authentication alternative for eCommerce and later broadened to include all payment types and venues. Our prediction was that EMV would push fraud to eCommerce and this has come true.

Could you elaborate on the key features of your MobileBioSecure solution and its main differentiators as compared to similar offerings in the market?

The closest concept to what we have designed is the EMVCo 3D Secure 2.0 specification. 3D Secure shifts fraud liability from the merchant to the issuer; however, merchants are required to manage their chargebacks to less than 1%.  So, merchants still must implement their own fraud-management tools. A disadvantage of 3D Secure is that it requires issuer participation. A key advantage of our patented approach is the use of an out-of-band “push” authentication message to the registered mobile device of the cardholder. This push message replaces the outdated and now somewhat insecure SMS message and one-time passwords. Because we use the mobile device as an ‘authenticator’ we are fully compliant with the FIDO Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) protocol. The solution is rules-based and can be applied by merchants, gateways, and acquirers to a small subset of transactions to avoid adding unnecessary friction to the payment flow.

What devices or equipment businesses need to make use of your solution?

The solution will be available on any biometric capable smartphone.

Who is your target audience and how do you generally reach them?

The two biggest challenges for online merchants are fraud and false declines. So, our target audience would be any online merchant dealing with these growing issues. We are in discussions with several eCommerce gateways and large omni-channel merchants to deploy a proof-of-concept.

What challenges do you primarily face in your market?

User registration and adoption will be the primary hurdle to overcome. We plan to address this by working directly with merchants and not wait on the issuers or card brands.

What are your ambitious future plans, projects or goals?

We are seeking investors, payment processors, merchants, and technology providers who want to be known as leading-edge innovators to take this concept forward based on our strong portfolio of issued patents.

Steve Bacastow is a 30-year veteran of the high-tech industry and currently serves as a strategic advisor in areas of product strategy, patents, technology strategy, and operations. His reputation as a practical innovator is well-known across the Atlanta area technology community. Steve was a co-founder and SVP of SK C&C, USA (dba CorFire) where he was instrumental in the development and launch of the Google Wallet. Steve’s vast experience includes leadership roles at Mozido and Dove Consulting (now Hitachi Consulting), as well as cyber security technology startup, QuickVault.

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