Vantiv had the opportunity to participate as a sponsor for HackPSU at Penn State University, in which 500+ student hackers of all ages competed against each other. Before the event officially kicked off on Saturday April 9, 2016, we had the opportunity to speak with several Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences students about who Vantiv is and the exciting challenges technology helps solve in the payment ecosystem.
After the excitement from the previous night about the potential talent participating at HackPSU, we could hardly wait to get set up and polish our challenge pitch for those students willing to brave payments. Soon, students began to filter in and their curiosity to learn more about payments became evident as our team intertwined their everyday activities and interests with payments.
Once the teams were strategically formed and their challenge staked, their work began. From the beginning, BarTab set their sights on integrating to Vantiv’s API to solve the common inconveniences of non-sobriety and bar tabs. Their inspiration came from the dreaded morning after when you realize your tab was left open and your card is at a bar you can’t remember. With several Vantiv stress balls and energy drinks, the team developed a mobile app that syncs with a POS to let customers order drinks and pay using a token from the card on file; the catch is through geo-location, the customer’s tab automatically closes if they leave the bar.
Another team that drew inspiration from our API was MediatR. Their personal frustrations also inspired them to try and make payments smarter, faster and easier. Their ploy was to reduce fraud through geo-location matching of the cardholder and the purchase.
After a long grueling 24 hours, the winning team prevailed with a tightly sealed presentation that wowed the crowd.PulsePay took payment security and technology innovation to another level! Taking their inspiration from Shawn McCarthy’s keynote, the team set out to make eCommerce shopping convenient and secure by enabling biometric heart monitoring through a simple wristband made by Nymi. Their design allows the cardholder to biometrically authenticate once with the Nymi Band, and interact securely via online transactions. Merchants supporting PulsePay can process payments with little concern for fraud because the website syncs during checkout with the Nymi Band, and authenticates their heart rate to the user profile created on their mobile application.
As you might imagine, it was incredibly hard to judge the many ideas that emerged during HackPSU. Given the high number of great applications and the amazing list of participants, I was only able to list a few here.
We would like to congratulate PulsePay and all the PSU student teams for helping define the future of payments with the Vantiv platform.
It’s been a great weekend, and we look forward to many more in the future.