Our Zero Data Hero Customer Spotlight series highlights the stories of VGS customers who have joined our Zero Data mission to protect the world’s information.
“PCI, including our yearly certification, has now become a breeze”
Today’s Zero Data Hero is Ben Hwa, Chief of Staff at Apto Payments. He has his hands in every single part of the company including product, compliance, operations, customer success, and even support! He works closely with Meg, the CEO, to ensure they’re serving their customers to the best of their ability and leveraging their relationships to build the slickest platform out there. As Meg would say, “he’s the glue of Apto Payments.”
Q - Tell us about Apto?
Ben - Apto is a leading-edge card issuance platform. Our differentiator is helping businesses issue cards with fewer constraints, and with more creativity. Our goal is to find new ways to connect people to their assets. We hand hold our clients so that they can launch innovative and customer centric card programs without needing to be experts in payments.
Q - How did Apto approach the challenge of PCI compliance?
Ben - One of the most important topics when we talk to customers / partners is the topic of PCI compliance, and how we protect our customers’ sensitive data. By leveraging VGS’ technology, the Apto platform is certified PCI-DSS level 1, the highest PCI certification level available. Using VGS’ proxy technologies, we can guarantee that PCI protected data is not stored in any of our databases, thus, attacks to steal that information would be useless. We also have additional mechanisms to protect our data from attacks but not having the data stored locally really gives us peace of mind.
Q - What does Zero Data mean to you?
Ben - As a fintech startup, people demand/expect us to be secure. We’re regularly audited by government agencies, as well as, independent agencies. We’re always trying to figure out how we can do even better when it comes to security since it is so vital to the success of our business. What we love about the Zero Data philosophy is the fact that it limits our scope and therefore our risk. Since we don’t hold sensitive data, many of these audits become less of a burden. Zero Data really allows us to just focus our energy on the important stuff of growing our business.
Q - How has VGS helped Apto?
Ben - I would describe the relationship with VGS as multifaceted. For us the relationship goes way beyond just technology. We view VGS as an invaluable partner. You guys think holistically about data security and the ecosystem that Apto now operates in. You’ve been really helpful in suggesting partners that we should connect with. Being a VGS customer also gives us a stamp of approval and credibility when forming new partnerships.
Q - How do you see the relationship evolving over time?
Ben - Our relationship with VGS has been evolving from the beginning. We first started working with you when we were a B2C focused company. With our rebranding to Apto, we’ve shifted our focus to B2B and helping other businesses launch successful and innovative new cards. Each step of the way you’ve been there for us and we expect that to continue into the future. Specifically, I think we’ll continue to put more and more PII data on your platform and I also expect that you will help us with new upcoming regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Q - How do you quantify the benefit of VGS?
Ben - The main benefit is how easy and fast PCI compliance has become. PCI, including our yearly certification, has now become a breeze. With you we are confident that our PCI data is stored securely. Additionally you guys handle all our data security which really allows us to focus on our product and business.
Q - Any advice for other startups who are beginning their PCI journey?
Ben - Startups tend to underestimate the time and resources required to build and certify a system for PCI. This is a huge task, that involves not only technology, but also processes. VGS is a great partner that helped us understand the entire scope of work. My advice to startups that need to be PCI compliant - partner with VGS. It’s cheaper and faster than trying to do it yourself and definitely less stressful thanks to VGS’ experience and understanding of how to secure sensitive data no matter the use case. Startups must focus on building innovative products, and resources are really valuable especially in small companies, so working with VGS’ team will decrease your time to market and improve the security of your products.
Q - Who is your favorite superhero and why?
Ben - I like Iron Man particularly as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. in the Marvel movies. Despite his out-of-control ego and obnoxious personality it’s still somehow difficult not to like him. There’s also no denying his universal contributions and realistic views of the world and how to improve it. He exemplifies how ahead of the curve I and the rest of the Apto team are trying to be.
Q - How can people sign up with Apto?
Ben - The best way to contact us about how we help with card issuance is to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Apto is a leading-edge card issuance platform. We help companies issue new kinds of cards in new ways. We do it with fewer constraints and more creativity, for a better cardholder experience. Founded in 2014 as Shift Payments, the company worked with Coinbase to launch the first bitcoin debit card.
Today, as Apto, we have broadened our mission, finding new ways to connect people to their assets by helping companies successfully launch innovative, customer-centric card programs to market.