The start-up battling digital data fraud

As smart technology advances, smarter ways to protect your identity are needed. Discover the start-up taking this challenge on.

Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), today’s global landscape is more connected than ever before. But, IoT’s influence has stretched far beyond the world of tech. With the introduction of contactless cards and wearables, it’s now conquering the world of payments.

UK customers are fully embracing this quick and easy payment solution but, convenience comes at a price. In this case – security. According to figures from Financial Fraud Action (FFA) UK, contactless payment fraud soared by almost 150% last year.

One start-up, making it their mission to combat rising data fraud and identity theft, is Defender Note. They’ve created a pioneering product, which offers the highest level of shielding to protect contactless cards or any Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) device.

We spoke to Defender Note’s Marketing Director, Morgan Rothwell about how his solution to an industry problem became the successful regional business it is today.

How and when did you come up with the idea for Defender Note?

One area of concern that I’d seen grow over the last few years was contactless technology and the potential for it to be open to fraud. I was aware that there were cheap and simple-to-use devices available on the market that could read card details when in close proximity. So, with my team, we looked at how we could block people’s contactless (RFID) cards from fraudsters, and found a specific material that achieved 100% success.

What was your approach to stress-testing your business model?

We had to develop a product from scratch, which was done on the ground in China. We knew that RFID theft was becoming increasingly prevalent but, initially we didn’t understand the span of the issue or the lack of workable and unobtrusive solutions on the market. We soon realised [existing solutions] weren’t as effective as we first thought, and so we were confident that we’d have an impact with a carefully planned PR campaign.

What is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. It refers to the technology whereby digital data, encoded in a RFID tag, is captured by a reader via radio waves. This tech serves the same purpose as a barcode; it provides a unique identifier for a particular object. One advantage it has over barcoding is, the RFID tag doesn’t have to be aligned to the reader; data can be read outside line-of-sight. With increasing security and privacy concerns, we will see even more places for RFID to assist in keeping our data safe.

How do you envision RFID developments impacting your business and small businesses in general? 

If you don’t embrace technology, your business will decline. These developments force us to be pro-active and to observe trends, so we can do our best to stay one step ahead. They also force us to evolve our technological offerings to meet new and more complex communicative requirements.

What are some of the key consumer trends you have noted in customers’ use of RFID technology?

Millennials thrive on new tech. They embrace it without the prejudice that more mature consumers often have. They’ll often save credit card details online, have all kinds of social media accounts and run their lives online.

Whereas, Gen X consumers will embrace new technology if it makes their life easier and there is no obvious risk. Where risk exists, there are objections to adoption. These consumers and the generations born before them are our core market.

What would be your advice to other budding small businesses and entrepreneurs before they launch a product?

Learn from other people’s mistakes. Look at what’s out there and question, do they really fulfill a need? Is it a solution for a real-world problem or for one that doesn’t yet exist? Always use people around you for unbiased, informed feedback, and finally, invest time in hard research. It’s so easy to go down a track and become blinkered.

Despite the myth, IoT is not reserved for large corporations – Defender Note are living proof of this. More and more small businesses are using it as a building block for their business models and as their driving force to success.