Max Levchin, a founder of PayPal Inc., is funding the online mobile payment startup Affirm. Initially called Expedite, Affirm is the first project launched by Levchin's San Francisco technology company Hard Valuable Fun. The company said the name was changed to affirm its technology is "a fast, elegant checkout experience."
Affirm is an online mobile payment app that allows consumers to make purchases on mobile devices by using their Facebook information at checkout, which serves to authenticate consumers. The company stated it takes just two taps on a mobile device to make an online payment using Affirm: first the user taps the Affirm button on the merchant's checkout page; then the user taps to confirm the order. Affirm allows consumers 30 interest-free days within which to pay back Affirm at its website, which accepts credit and debit cards from all major card brands. Borrowers can also mail Affirm checks for payment. There are no consumer fees; merchants are charged for the service.
The company relies on the Facebook profiles of its registered users to authorize credit, but it may ask for additional credit or debit card information to complete a purchase if it cannot glean enough data from the Facebook account. The information gathered from Facebook helps to prevent fraud and deliver payment information, the company said. Affirm added that customers will soon be able to log in using other social media services.
Affirm may be downloaded on any mobile device and can be used only with participating merchants. The company also said "a team of cryptographic experts, with years of experience in payments and security" designed the system to protect sensitive consumer and merchant data.
In a recent blog post, Levchin described what he hopes to do with HVF. "It is clear that the path forward for me is to seek that balance of hard, valuable, and fun in every project I start, join, back, or advise," he wrote. "Hard is for intellectual engagement, the search for solution by any means necessary. Valuable is the knowledge that if this, whatever this is, works, the world will never be the same. Fun is the sense of passion, the wings that carry you out of the pit of despair when nothing seems to work; the first thought upon awakening - I've gotta get to the office!"
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