A Custom Take on Digital Cards
The startup Final is trying to put its own spin on digital cards, by emphasizing mobile-based customization and supporting multiple uses.
Aaron Frank admits he was an “expert in credit cards” only because he had a credit card when he dove into the payments industry three years ago with the idea to launch a new type of card portfolio.
As CEO, Frank built a team of ambitious entrepreneurs and payments pros to research the credit card business and land a partner bank to launch the Final card, a combination of a plastic card and the ability for a user to create numerous PANS, or digital cards, for online purchasing or to use only with specific merchants.
The end result is that Oakland-based Final created a twist on the traditional payments ecosystem in that it seeks to operate as card-issuing-as-a-service with Visa branded cards on existing payments rails.
Final is not creating virtual cards, per se, which are generally digital versions of a regular card or something created as a one-time token. “Rather, the Final cards created digitally for displayed on phones or on the web can have various controls built in from one-purchase use, to one authorization for multiple purchases, or one-time uses for travel purposes or ongoing transactions at a specific merchant,” Frank said.
First Bank & Trust in South Dakota operates as the bank partner to provide the BIN for the cards and offer digital technology to its customers. Final uses Oberthur Technologies for printing and production of the plastic cards, and technology provider Vantiv as the network gateway provider.
“It was a heavy lift for us to find something that we could do as a fully Card Act compliant credit card program and find a solution for the digital cards that would work on the network,” said Alex Cramer, head of cards for Final.
“The credit card industry has a lot of legacy baggage, with even some of the newer software being almost 20 years old, and we had to determine how to take that technology and change it,” said Cramer.
“What no one has thought about, or has been able to accomplish, is providing an ISO on the issuing side of the business,” CEO Frank said. “On the acquiring side you have ISOS, aggregators and gateway providers. You don’t have that on the issuing side and we are trying to put together that model.”
“On the acquiring side you have ISOS, aggregators and gateway providers. You don’t have that on the issuing side and we are trying to put together that model,” said Aaron Frank, CEO of Final.