A question we often get asked by investors is whether our payment product means the end of plastic. It made me think that the only other time I have thought about ‘plastic’ in any meaningful way was from a conservation perspective. I’ve been scuba diving for almost 20 years and, as a consequence, have always been on the ‘minimise the use of plastics’ bandwagon.
I believe, or perhaps hope, that things are heading in the right direction, both online and offline, and as a family we try and do our bit. I confess mainly led by my wife, Latasha, who has cracked the bin colour Rubik’s cube. I have never seen a floating AmEx or Visa card out in the ocean, which is probably good news on many fronts. The information contained on that piece of plastic – name, 16 digit number, expiry date, and security code – are all extremely valuable. Once you have the person’s address you are off and running. So, when we throw it away, we tend to chop it up into little pieces, slicing across the numbers with scissors so that it couldn't be put back together. I think I picked that up from my Mum, watching her standing over the kitchen bin, orange handled scissors in hand, asking what she was doing. Most cards are made from polyvinyl chloride, a plastic which is difficult and expensive to recycle due to the high chlorine content (which, as a chemist at heart, is extremely hazardous). So they are unquestionably a part of our recycling conundrum that we simply have to solve.
When you use Banked, you do not need a card. Indeed, if you have online banking then you technically already have a Banked ‘card’. Card, by our definition, is the click of a button. When you pay for an item using Banked, we don’t ask you to fill in your card details, we simply and securely open your mobile banking app with the details of who you are paying pre-completed. You confirm that you wish to authorise the transaction and the funds are sent. This is a huge contrast to how payments traditionally work: at the moment, we all authorise the retailer to pull money out of our account by giving them our bank details. Which, from a security perspective, now seems like madness. When using Banked, the retailer gives you their details and you push the money to them. No card details are shared and therefore, not only is it more secure, there's no need for a plastic card.
Banked started out life with the working title, ‘StudioH67’. H stood for Hugo, named after Brad’s son, and 67 because he was born on the 6th July. We wanted to set off on a journey with this new venture that meant, hopefully, we'd leave the world in a better place than we found it. For my own daughter, Vesper, I hope to go diving with her in ten years or so and show her the things that I have been lucky enough to see and, indeed, many more things I haven’t seen yet.
Our mission statement is that, in five years, using a plastic card will be as alien as writing a cheque. And if that means less plastic in our trash then I’d like to think that the Banked family are doing their little bit to leave the world in a better place than when we found it.