Household Credit Sharing App the Victor at Visa Hackathon
Dubai—When asked to imagine a thriving industry in the Middle East, most of us will immediately think of oil. But in recent years, the region’s economy has diversified, breathing new life into its tech sector. It was a fitting location then for Visa’s Digital Payments Hackathon on November 25th – 26th, an event which served as an ideal platform for the region’s finance and commerce app development teams to test and pitch their latest software.
The event, which was exclusively partnered with the operator-led identity solution, Mobile Connect, challenged 70 people in 19 teams to develop an innovative payment or financial solution using VISA and Mobile Connect APIs. Entrants were competing for $12,000 USD in prize money, a chance to demo at Visa’s Innovation Centre and a trip to Mobile World Congress 2017.
In an era of security breaches and high-profile data leaks, one of the key challenges the financial sector faces is adopting an identity solution to authenticate and authorise transactions. Developers were given the chance to deliver this by incorporating the Mobile Connect API into their solutions.
The results were a diverse array of potential products that exhibited how rapidly the sector is adapting to digital technology. Visa Citizen, for example, was a prototype that used tokenisation to make one click payments from an e-wallet. The solution showcased its contextual commerce credentials by demonstrating its potential use on public transport and social shopping where payment could be delegated to a trusted friend.
Paed, also illustrated the advances the financial sector can achieve in p2p transactions by using Mobile Connect to authenticate payments between friends whilst visiting them in another country. The proposed advantage of this solution is that it could drive down transaction charges by allowing the user to effectively borrow from their friend’s account whilst recording the exact amount that was borrowed.
The Mobile Connect API was also used to underpin VPay, the mobile payment solution that eliminates the need of a physical credit card or currency that allows for verifiable, highly secure & fraud free p2p transactions using blockchain.
The winning entry for the use of the Mobile Connect API was Al Usra, an app that made use of Mobile Connect’s recently released authorisation capabilities to help families collectively manage their finances. The Al Usra app allowed a card holder to effectively share their credit cards with family members but with an interesting twist: authorisation of payments could only be executed by the card holder. The card holder could set certain parameters such as streamlining everyday purchases or goods below a certain value, or place restrictions on high value goods or those which are inappropriate for younger members of the family. Al Usra contained the added advantage of containing an algorithm which advises the user on which card should be used for any given transaction.
As the Middle East’s digital commerce industry gains momentum, it will, like the rest of the globe, need to be underpinned by a convenient, secure and interoperable identity solution. By making use of the flexibility and inherent security of Mobile Connect, the event’s developers were able to demonstrate that all aspects of commercial life could be on the verge of fundamental improvement.