OPW INTERVIEW -- Sep 25, 2007 -- It's no secret that the more options you offer for payment, the higher your conversions. Mastercard, Visa, Discovery, Amex... and Trustcash is another to consider. Tens of millions of potential internet daters don't have credit cards in the U.S.A. Many more don't really want a dating site showing up on their credit cards. So, you really, really should offer some kind of prepaid card cash payment method. Trustcash has internet dating industry experience. Here's my interview with Greg Moss. - Mark Brooks
What is Trustcash’s founding story?
E-commerce has had strong consistent growth year in and year out since inception. With growth like this in any industry come various risks. In this specific case it happens to be increased concerns with privacy and security After recognizing this an opportunity presented itself to create a stored value transaction system that would allow anyone with Internet access – even those without credit cards – to buy anonymously and safely online just as they would at a traditional retailer today with cash.
I can walk into a store today and buy a magazine with cash and no one will ever know I made that purchase. And it’s secure. That’s what we’ve built here at Trustcash.
What does the service do?
Basically, the service allows people to take a $50 bill and insert it into their computer. People can go to one of 60,000 Trustcash designated retail outlets throughout the country, hand the clerk cash and in exchange receive a Trustcash number that is similar to a credit card number, but without their personal data tied to it. It’s a unique 12-digit alphanumeric number worth the dollar amount paid and you can take that number and use it to make online purchases at merchants that accept Trustcash as a form of payment. This includes hard goods, services and subscription based businesses. By using Trustcash for their online transactions people can keep their transactions private and, since there is no personal information tied to their Trustcash number it is secure from hackers and their private life is kept private. This type of transaction has also given a whole new opportunity to people who are unbanked or under banked. Over 50 million people in the U.S. alone don’t possess credit cards or don’t have the credit available to make purchases online. Trustcash gives these consumers the opportunity to get better product availability and pricing via the internet.
Where precisely can people buy Trustcash?
Today, it’s currently available in about 60,000 locations across the U.S.. We expect that by the first quarter of next year, we’ll take the service to an additional 60,000 locations internationally, beginning with Canada and then moving into Europe. Trustcash can also be purchased online using a credit card. This service is for customers who do not wish to give the end merchant their personal data or worry about their personal data being stored in an unknown database online. When buying Trustcash with a credit card, it is a one time purchase and all of your data is purged following the transaction. Beyond these forms of distribution, there are several more relationships in the works with both financial institutions and prepaid companies that will continue to increase our availability around the country.
Who are your signature internet dating clients?
For the last six months, we’ve been working closely with a leading dating company called IWANTU. They have been great to work with and extremely patient while we spent the time understanding who the target customer is and how we can help generate incremental revenue for their program. It is important to understand the space before you roll out in any real magnitude.
We have signed several more leading dating programs which are now in integration and currently have verbal commitments from another six while they review our merchant agreement.
How can you help internet dating companies make more money?
That’s the question and this is where it gets exciting. Social networks and dating sites have essentially become the modern day personals. The internet has opened this world up and plenty of people are coming to the dating sites. And although many will sign up for a free account, there’s a sizable amount that just won’t convert to paying customers. They get to a point where they feel their personal data will be compromised or they won’t be able to keep their private life private (perhaps someone in their life, like a spouse or significant other, will discover what they’re doing through a credit card or checking account statement). We give these people a sense of security. By keeping their private lives private and secure, we’re able to convert more free subscribers for these dating programs. We’re bringing them an entirely new market of customers who previously wouldn’t use their services out of privacy and security fears.
Who are your competitors?
Right now, we’re considered an alternative payment system. As far as competition, it’s tough to say that we have a direct competitor. There are a lot of companies – the PayBy Phone, ACH companies, Dialers, ChargeMeLater, PayPal, Google Buy, all competing for the alternative biller spot with merchants. But, fortunately, these companies cannot offer complete privacy and most have swayed from certain verticals and markets. This has given us an opportunity to come in and demonstrate our value proposition to both the customer and merchant.
What are your goals for 2007 through 2008 for Trustcash?
I think we’ve discovered a market that has a big need for a service like Trustcash. Dating has proven that there is a large portion of free subscribers that truly need and want what Trustcash has to offer. Our priority right now is to hone in on the dating market and make sure we do a first class job with both the customer and the merchant experiences. In tandem we will continue to build our brand with traditional and non-traditional marketing campaigns. As for 2008 and beyond we will enter into mainstream verticals that make the most sense for the company based on the current demographic of our customer.