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BlackBerry Limited (NYSE: BB) and Car IQ, a California-based financial technology start-up, have announced a partnership to bring a new, highly-secure vehicle-based payment platform to the BlackBerry IVY ecosystem.

Car IQ has developed a machine-based payment network whose AI-based authentication technology will leverage BlackBerry IVY’s in-vehicle edge computing and direct access to hundreds of vehicle sensors to create a ‘digital fingerprint’ for the vehicle.

This allows Car IQ to securely connect to a bank’s payment network, validate, and autonomously pay for a wide range of services, such as fuel, tolls, parking, maintenance, along with other ‘wallet’ capabilities.

The global in-vehicle payments market accounted for close to $2 billion in 2019. Car IQ says it’s estimated to reach around $9 billion by 2029.

Based in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry leverages AI and machine learning to deliver innovative solutions in the areas of cybersecurity, safety and data privacy. The company secures more than 500M endpoints including over 195M vehicles.

Peter Virk, Vice President of IVY Product and Ecosystem, BlackBerry, says: “We are delighted to partner with Car IQ to demonstrate the value that BlackBerry IVY’s end-to-end offering brings, as well as the exciting, disruptive technologies that IVY can enable. In-vehicle access to sensor data and edge computing allows Car IQ to offer an incredibly secure solution for payments in vehicles and a lucrative opportunity for automakers.”

Sterling Pratz is the CEO of Car IQ. He tells Auto Futures more about his company and its payment technology.

“Car IQ was founded around the principle that there should be an easy way for vehicles to pay for services. The current process is complex, it requires car owners to use legacy banking processes such as credit cards and to download Apps to their phones in order to communicate with each individual merchant and service provider,” says Pratz.

In order for vehicles to transact, they need unique vehicle IDs so they can be trusted by the banks and payment networks. Car IQ’s vision is to use this ID to create a cardless payment network with trust between the car and the bank enabling the car to transact and pay on behalf of the funds owner.

Pratz explains how Car IQ’s platform works. “Our ability to see into the car adds another layer of benefit for the bank, the car owner, and the merchant – they can see exactly who the car is and if it is authenticated to pay, and they can validate the service the car is requesting.”

“For example, when a car purchases fuel, our platform can see the car, the size of its gas tank, and the number of gallons inside.  We use this information to tell the merchant the maximum amount of fuel the car will receive, then check back in with the car after fueling to verify much it actually received,” he adds.

Pratz says the system is very secure and meets all banking and regulatory requirements.

“Our transaction process, using vehicles combined with transaction data to validate the car prior to and after a transaction, allows us to eliminate friendly fraud, disputes, and chargebacks.”

Automotive OEMs will benefit from the partnership with BlackBerry as the platform will enable them to generate revenue from the billions spent around cars that are currently routed  through traditional payment networks.  

“Our platform allows the vehicle to pay for any type of service. It allows the OEM to participate in every transaction (Interchange) and it allows them to create new financial services around the vehicle such as Car Wallets, embed payments within the loan of the car and offer micro banking loans that are directly tied to the vehicle’s needs,” says Pratz.

Blackberry Ivy Get In

BlackBerry IVY is a cloud-connected software platform that allows OEMs to provide a consistent and secure way to read vehicle sensor data, normalise it, and create actionable insights from that data both locally in the vehicle and in the cloud.

We are excited to partner with BlackBerry to accelerate the time-to-market of our latest in-vehicle payment solution and to capture share of this rapidly growing market. BlackBerry IVY allows us to fully embed our solution on a common platform in the vehicle, allowing us to not only provide the highest level of security, but also greatly reduce complexity for the banks and merchants,” adds Pratz.

Finally, we asked Pratz for his vision on where the in-vehicle payment market is heading.

“I believe vehicle payments will be ubiquitous and cover all types of transactions.  I believe the car will maintain its own P&L and allow car owners to pay for a wide variety of services in and around the car.” 

“Today we are focused on the $650B that is spent on cars thru fuel, EV, services/repair, insurance, etc. but by 2030, it will include new payment categories such as food, C Store purchases, and more,” he predicts.

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