News Article


Cashless society is coming – and fraudsters are ready to pounce, warns big data analytics firm

By CreditMan Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In the wake of today’s report by Payments UK, suggesting that card transactions will overtake cash in 2021, advanced big data analytics firm Hello Soda have warned banks to act now to protect against fraud.

Hello Soda CEO James Blake said: “Everything will go contactless and we will be a cashless society but some financial services businesses are just waking up to this and need to innovate desperately to ensure they can handle it.

“For consumers, contactless may be less risky than carrying around cash but for businesses there is a watch-out around fraud and the customer experience.

“I recently came off a flight to the USA and my credit card wouldn’t work. It took a 30 minute phone call with the bank and an abundance of questions for me to have access to my money and this is not a workable solution for a society that is cashless. Banks need to be able to reduce this call to 3 minutes saving them on staff time and the customer’s time and then authenticate me by email. Current identity checks by banks are archaic and not ready for a cashless society and need to catch up fast, because cashless is coming.

“There’s no getting away from it, fraudsters will always exist, but because of the lack of innovation by the banking sector there is a real cause for concern about how they will cope with fraud when we are a cashless society. Currently, around 20% of the UK population’s data is being sold by fraudsters who are getting birth certificates, marriage certificates from the dark web and conning the banks into thinking they are someone else.

“So while we have had innovation in how we pay, the background checks to confirm our identities have not caught up and this is where inherent risk lies. Financial services firms need to innovate now before it’s too late and fraudsters make a big dent in their bottom lines.”

Hello Soda was founded in 2013 by CallCredit trio, CEO James Blake, commercial director, Will Ellis and operations and client services director, Ben Allott. After leaving the UK's second largest credit reference company, the trio now make up a team of 24 which includes leading data scientists, engineers, psycholinguists, natural language processors and unstructured data analysts with an average 2.5 first class Master and PHD degrees between them. Having won many Awards including a Northern Tech Award, the rapidly expanding Manchester start-up has represented the Northern Powerhouse at the Palace and 10 Downing Street. Hello Soda operates in the finance, insurance, recruitment and gaming sectors, is well funded by European Investors and has ambitions to build to £100m analytics software over the next 5 years.