Finsphere, a Bellevue-based payment services startup, has partnered with Visa to help people with credit cards avoid the embarrassment of having their payment declined when traveling.
Called Visa Mobile Location Confirmation, the system uses a person’s smartphone to confirm where they are in the world and check to see if that matches where their credit card is being used.
The process of confirming a user’s location is powered by technology developed by Finsphere. Starting in April, users will be able to download the app for the bank that issued their credit card, accept the terms and conditions of the program, and allow the app to access their location information at the time of a transaction. That, in turn, will allow banks to authorize purchases that might otherwise have triggered fraud protection features and blocked the payment from going through. Here’s a video that shows how it works:
Finsphere CEO Mike Buhrmann told GeekWire in an interview that the feature shouldn’t negatively impact users’ battery life, since the app will only check where someone is around the time that they make a transaction, so they’re not piping location data up to Finsphere all the time.
Moving forward, Buhrmann, a former @Mobile and McCaw Cellular exec, said that the company plans to do even more with its location-based technology to improve other transactions, including “card-not-present” sales that take place online.
The news comes after the company raised a $1.8 million internal funding round that included participation from an unnamed institutional investor already involved with the company.