Security on the Electronic Payment Frontier

As we all move deeper into mobile with the proliferation of smartphones and tablet devices, eyes are turning toward the companies that facilitate transactions on these new platforms. Security is bubbling the forefront and will continue to occupy consumers’ minds as they participate more and more in mobile-enabled services.

In the beginning, we saw an opportunity to use the most familiar application on the internet — email — to perform financial transactions. As we built the technology to do this, we went through numerous iterations to make it more secure and easy to use.

Everyone who helped create the @Pay concept and build the product had something to say about security. Initially, we grappled with securing the “payment through email” idea. How do you make it secure? How do we keep our customers’ data safe?

Keeping data secure is not trivial. Of course, you need to apply appropriate technology to the problem. You also need well developed procedures covering who can access the data (system administrators, customer service, etc.) and what processes are required to be followed. Lots of things to think about.

We released the first version of our website in the fall of 2011 and new @Pay members started to sign up. We worked hard to gain their trust — and we continue to earn that trust by staying focused on electronic payment security while providing the easiest way the internet has ever seen to complete financial transactions.

As we started taking our own medicine as @Pay employees by signing up and using our own product, feedback began rolling in: suggestions on changes that might make the website more inviting, user-friendly and easier to use. All along, ideas on how to increase security kept us busy with new secure features.

Our company has grown substantially in the past two years and we now have a full-time team focused on operations and security. We also have fraud detection systems in place to alert us of suspicious activity and stop illegitimate transactions cold in their tracks.

With mobile traffic on the internet due to overtake desktop traffic in the near future, it is of great importance to us to be sure our technology works securely on mobile platforms. By embracing transactions via email, we have avoided the complexity of writing multiple secure mobile applications, each targeting a different mobile platform such as Apple iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone, etc.

This is an exciting time for the entire tech industry. It seems like new payment technologies, both mobile and web-based, are announced every month. Which electronic payment methods will survive this period of rapid change? Which will win in the marketplace? At @Pay, we’re betting on the staying power of email and our application of novel ideas and security to make Email Checkout method the obvious answer.

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