How does Soundpays work?

SoundPays: Paying via Ultrasonic Sound

Soundpays is one definite attention grabber when it comes to the fintech era of mobile wallets. This ultrasonic sound based information transfer and transaction service is the hot cake of fintech startups these days. Since its technology is based merely on sound, it can work with almost all sorts of mobiles, laptops, and even desktop computers. Having an advantage of being easily accessible, and improved capabilities over NFC, Apple Pay and Google Wallet, Soundpays is definitely going to give competitors a run for their money.

Let’s explore this startup and its technology in this article.

It is difficult to track the productivity of advertisements but advertisers spend loads and loads of money on it. This is because there has not been any technology to track that how was a purchase linked directly to the power of the advertisement. People get tempted by an advertisement but they still have to find the website, or call the number, or find the nearest store in the city to buy the product. Because, there hasn’t been a way to buy directly from the advertisement until now.

Did you ever think you could “Shazam” all your payments? (Those of you who do not know about “Shazam”, it’s an application on your smart phones that listens to the song playing in the background to identify the name, genre, artist and other things about the song.) Heard about online payment? Must have even heard about payments using your smart phones, but have you ever heard or even thought about making payments using your voice?

Yes, you read it correct; a technology exists where you can easily make payments just using your voice and a smart phone. In the era where technology is developing at a rapid pace, the concept of a mobile wallet is not a new one but paying money with sound is. Mobile payments gained popularity due convenience, ease of use and security. Mobile payments complete banking transactions by sending a unique, one-time code that the user sends back to the bank for authorization purpose rather than one’s card or personal information.

The difference in this new technology of soundpays is that the user’s voice in this particular case acts as the authorization mode for authenticating a payment transaction.  Let us dive into the intricacies of this.

What is Soundpays?

Soundpays is a revolutionary way to pay for things, just with your smartphone.  It is a mobile payments startup company located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, founded in 2015 by Peter Misek and Jason Squire. The enterprise is devoted to harnessing ultrasonic sound waves to create a up-to-date, frictionless e-commerce channel, which directly connects the phone to visual content.

Very much contrasting its competitors that include Apple Pay and Google Wallet; Soundpays, merchants can sell to customers with any mobile phone without adding any new hardware. That is the edge Soundpays has over its competitors. The best part about Soundpays is that it recognizes ultrasonic and sonic waveforms even in extremely noisy environments.

How does this technology works?

Soundpays technology uses an inaudible sound wave (ultrasonic sound waves) that is embedded into a video that is broadcasted through any type of speaker (TV, phone, computer, digital sign, stadium speakers, etc). This sound wave is then received through the users mobile device’s microphone. The exclusive process within the Soundpays app then de-codes the transmission, extracts the embedded merchandise purchase information and then delivers it to the users mobile (smart phone) device screen. The user can review the information and select to make a single-touch purchase. Easy and exciting, isn’t it? Once the user accepts the purchase, funds are transferred to the merchant through the industry-standard transaction managing system i.e,. the bank manages the further payments to the merchants. The customer then receives an emailed receipt. The whole purchase process just takes place between a whopping 1 to 3 seconds.

Soundpays infographic
Soundpays infographic

What is more to it is its ability to work even in extremely noisy environments. This is because noises are typically generated in a much lower frequency range and as such these lower frequencies do not interference with the higher-frequency ultrasonic signals. It has even been tested in nightclubs, airports, coffee shops other environments with high noise levels, but the noise levels have had no negative impact on the workings of it.

The company allows pairing its device with a TV and a laptop and buy a product that’s being advertised at that moment right away. That’s the beauty of it.

How secure is Soundpays?

In the mobile payment world, acceptance of something new is pretty slow. Consumers are concerned about security of the technology and the retailers are hesitant to invest in new equipment’s that may not make enough of a return for the investment it would take to install it. Further, since Soundpays works with anyone’s and everyone’s mobile wallet, it has the ability to bring in additional users faster and quicker and enable more merchants to benefit from the Soundpays payments technology.

It is a pretty safe and secure mechanism for payments as any sort of credit card information is never stored on the device or their servers. They directly pass on their data to their payment processing handling partners who take care of the payment part and send a receipt to the Soundpays system. All Soundpays communication is encrypted; hence there are no security issues.

In order to carry out a transaction, the operator must open the app, activate the listening process by swiping up on the payment icon and then approve the purchases. Even if someone tries to replicate the sound wave, in order to carry out a fraud, it would not be possible to change the destination merchant account in the Soundpays system. This safeguard feature makes it almost impossible to generate unwanted transactions on a user account and therefore reduces the fraud risks to effectively zero. Each party in every transaction needs to be authenticated on Soundpays payment server before carrying out any transaction.

For security purpose directional technology is required, which means that the only transaction that can travel through the air is actually the basket of goods. If a hacker was to catch the signal and decode it and trigger APIs, all they would see is the product that’s for sale and no details about the customers debit or credit card or any banking details. Thus, making the technology absolutely secure.

Other accolades

Soundpays pioneering, patent-pending technology has won the Toronto-based startup a best of show award at FinovateFall 2015, a two-day showcase of new innovations in financial and banking technology. It has received over $500K in seed funding and is gearing up speedily to connect with the best banks and payment services.  

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