At the same time that Rich Witkowski was demoing PIN4 in the exhibition hall last week at ATMIA US 2016, he was also engaged in the rollout of what he describes as “the first open cardless cash network” in four major U.S. cities: Chicago; Los Angeles; Miami; and New York.
Pin4 is a payment and authorization network that provides real-time cardless cash withdrawals at any enabled ATM. The company’s patented process provides “instant cash in hand” to consumers and opens up a new payment channel for P2P businesses and other companies that are looking to enhance their promotion, loyalty and rebate programs.
While it’s new to the U.S., PIN4 is well established in Europe, where it’s operated for the past four years under the HalCash name — chiefly in Spain and the Netherlands, according to Witkowski, the company’s U.S. CEO.
To initiate a PIN4 transaction, the issuer — this could be a financial institution, money servicing business, rebate fulfillment house, or government entity, among others — enters the recipient’s cell phone number, the transaction value, and a unique four-digit PIN into a mobile app. The issuer then sends details of the transaction — in real time — to the recipient’s mobile phone.
“There’s two text messages that [recipients] receive,” Witkowski said during a demo for ATM Marketplace. “One of them is a link to a locator map, basically saying which ATM in the area is … available for a PIN4 transaction. The second one is the credentials that you need in order to withdraw.”
These items include the four-digit code, the amount being sent, and the time window for completion of the cash withdrawal.
At the ATM, the recipient begins by entering his or her phone number (the system accepts both domestic and international numbers).
“That’s the first point of identification,” Witkowski said. “The second point is the value I sent you — say, $20. And then the four-digit PIN code you have in that text message.”
Finally, the recipient enters “the most important point of authentication” — a secret code. To ensure security, this code is sent through a different data stream than the PIN code. It can be communicated via phone call, email or a separate text.
In the demo at ATMIA, authorization details are received in real time and funds are immediately available for withdrawal at the PIN4 ATM. In the real world, the process is just as instantaneous, Witkowski said. “By the time you get that text message, your order is available at an ATM.”
PIN4 is launching its U.S. venture in collaboration with Payment Alliance International, which operates one of the nation’s largest independent ATM networks with 60,000 machines, according to the company’s website.