GPS Used to Prevent Financial Fraud
Recently, Visa Europe announced a partnership with e-channel security firm ValidSoft to form an effort against financial fraud. Essentially, a user’s whereabouts will be tracked via GPS on their phone. ValidSoft’s system allows for this to be done without the user opting in. A bit stalkerish perhaps, but ValidSoft has garnered the “privacy respectful” badge from privacy certification firm EuroPrise. Given people’s past reactions to privacy certifications, that may be all that is needed to deter consumer’s lack of privacy fears (much like VeriSign has done for e-commerce).
This geo-tracking information will be compared to the location of credit transactions that are being made with that user’s account. The idea is that your phone and credit card will likely be in relatively the same place at the same time. Therefore, if ValidSoft tracks you in London, but they see there are purchases being made from your card in Glasgow, they can then alert you as to possible fraud. Even though banks and credit card companies already notify consumers of strange activity, this will allow for monitoring and tracking close to home. I see it as being able to prevent fraud when someone steals your physical credit card and uses it across town rather than in a different country.
This partnership provides us with another example of cross-functional technologies, specifically in regards to geo-location. We have already seen a large growth in social networking based geo-tracking companies such as SCVNGR, Foursquare, and Gowalla. GPS is being used to help find lost pets. Garmin has transitioned from its traditional expertise of GPS for cars and boats by creating its Garmin Connect platform, allowing outdoor athlete enthusiasts to track their adventures using Garmin GPS devices. If there was ever a time for geo-location to go mainstream, that time is now.
We are still in the beginning stages of seeing how GPS technologies can be applied across platforms. Just as location based social networking sprung up somewhat recently, I think we will start to see even more GPS uses in years to come. Marketers have only begun to tap into the potential for geo-targeted advertising, which will likely play an important role in the future as well.
GPS is a technology that can be applied widely across platforms and I will be interested to see how it is adopted further.