I've always been intrigued by how things work: taking apart electronics, building with Legos, playing around with computers, coding, hacking and more. Born in Israel, I joined the Israeli Air Force and worked as a networking and security expert. I continued growing and excelling in this field for more than 10 years, but something was missing.
Today, we rely on online payments for almost everything, from ordering books or gifts to paying bills. But is technology really doing all that it can to secure those payments, or are there better ways to keep us all secure?
Through Token, I have tried to investigate the role of technology in providing security for the one thing that we give away most often online: payment information.
My journey into payment security started with PayPal. I was one of the first and most loyal PayPal adopters, using it whenever I could online. But PayPal isn't offered by every website or checkout page; and, as an inevitability of online shopping, my credit card was skimmed off websites where PayPal wasn't an option.
My experience with credit card fraud was the spark in founding Token. The more I looked at payment fraud, the more disappointed I became with the hassle, frustration, vulnerability and loss every consumer experiences from credit card theft, despite the banks' reassurance that they're on our side.
The potential for credit card theft was changing my shopping behavior, causing me to shop in certain places and avoid others, disrupting my relationship with merchants. That didn't make sense to me –online store or service providers should provide consumers with the best value, and the security company should secure those payments.
One of the main principles of data security is: "If you don't want your data to be stolen, don't share it in the first place." That's the fundamental idea behind Token. Rather than focusing on securing merchants, Token secures consumers and helps them protect themselves from credit card theft.
Imagine that at every place you shop online, or even over the phone, you could use a different credit card number and name so you never give away your information. If an online store is ever hacked, your credit card information was never there to begin with. We're providing this peace of mind to customers by helping them control their finances and taking the hassle out of fraud.
It's been an interesting entrepreneurial journey. People don't want to think about fraud or data breaches; but once they happen, it's all hands-on deck. I think the recent Equifax and Uber breaches have been a turning point for many people. We all want to feel like we're in control of our finances and financial security, but it's not always clear how we can do that. The more people learn about Token, the more excited they are by the potential for their payment future.
About the author: Zohar Steinberg is the founder and CEO of Token, a New York based payment security company on a mission to help you and everybody else pay without experiencing payment fraud.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.