Identity firm Payfont reinforces team with payments veterans


PAYFONT, the Edinburgh-based identity protection company that has created a ground-breaking system to eliminate consumer identity fraud, has brought on board some of the biggest names in international payments to support their development.

Ken Howes, ex Executive Director, Edgar, Dunn & Company, the global payments consultancy and also formerly HSBC Head of Payments; Colin Grannell, former Managing Director of Visa UK Limited; John de Lavis, the US-based former Chief Product Officer at MasterCard and former Chief Operating Officer at Netspend and Metapay, and Belgium-based Erik Van Winkel, former Senior Executive at MasterCard have all joined Payfont to help drive and deliver Payfont's go to market strategy.

Payfont is led by Chief Executive Dr David Lanc, who was previously Director of Cards Strategy and Development at RBS, and was a key figure in the introduction of "Chip & PIN" to the UK.  Lanc said: "People of the calibre that have joined wouldn't spend time on a venture they didn't believe in."

Attracting the above industry heavyweights gives significant credence to Payfont's potential, following on from its successful patent grants and significant security validation by top cybercrime professionals.  This validation includes verification of how significant Payfont is in drastically reducing the risk of identity fraud whilst still providing a very easy experience.

The business case for Payfont is staggering.  In the UK alone, identity fraud is on the increase.  UK card fraud resulting from identity theft in the first 6 months of 2013 rose 24%, with online, mail and telephone orders up 23%.  At a whopping £216m, the problem is not going away.  In the US, identity fraud was a staggering $21bn in 2012, with 12.6m victims, or 1 every 3 seconds.

Ken Howes said: "Identity fraud has reached epidemic proportions across the world, with 1 in 6 global consumers affected. In established markets like the UK and US, some 1 in 4 citizens have directly experienced identity fraud.  The problem doesn't simply stop at getting your bank to pay you back.  Your credit rating could be impacted, and your identity sold on and abused without your knowledge, causing long-term problems with loans and mortgages, really creating hardship.

"The Payfont system brings a generational transformation of how we can all be protected when we move money or buy goods.  It's simple to use, fast, and uniquely secure.  This product has capacity to go global and I'm happy to help bring it to market."

Payfont completely changes the way that your identity is kept safe, and protects you from bogus merchants when you buy goods or move money, while at the same time giving you a much simpler and faster experience.  Payfont's patented IP effectively makes your identity anonymous and your transaction unpredictable to fraudsters.  What's more, you never need to share your bank details with others, or use proxies like phone numbers, which encourage fraud.

You control how you want to identify yourself.  You can use pictures, codes, challenges or even biometrics such as voice recognition if that's what you want.

Lanc said: "Criminals rely on patterns and methods where a consumer provides identity and financial details in a predictable manner.  It doesn't help that you cannot stop your identity being stolen, given the information about us all available online today.  Payfont counters these weaknesses by protecting you in such a way that your identity can no longer be stolen and used without your involvement or knowledge."

From a consumer point of view, having a unique identity that is kept in a "virtual vault", protected by the same intellectual property, in the Payfont system means their personal and financial details are kept safe and secure, and under their sole control.

Banks and credit card companies are potential initial customers for the new system, although the Payfont team also have sights on bringing its trusted identity system to healthcare, child and vulnerable adult online protection, legal, government and business services.  The banks stand to gain significant £multi-million benefits in fraud cost reduction, lower internal costs, increased revenues, customer service and greater compliance with foreseeable regulation, which Payfont already delivers.

Colin Grannell, former Managing Director of Visa UK Limited, said: "The Payfont process is safe, simple and flexible and can potentially aid banks and card schemes in delivering significant cost reductions requested by regulators; it's also years ahead of the competition and it makes a superb investment proposition."

Apart from the big names just announced to support Payfont, further industry luminaries are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Lanc concluded: "It's very encouraging that so many big names are willing to stand behind the innovation we have, and put their experience to help us drive toward market entry.  This not only proves the value of what we have, but also its legitimacy as a real solution to a real global problem - how to keep us all safe online, whatever we do."

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