Skip to main content

Plug and Play’s CEO Corner: Will Summerlin, Pinn


Plug and Play brings together retailers and start-ups that offer specific technology and expertise that can relieve merchants’ pain points. Chain Store Age’s Customer Disruption newsletter provides a Q&A with the CEO of one of those companies in each issue. This time, the spotlight is on Will Summerlin of Pinn.

What does your company do?

If you want to pay for something at a store, you have a couple of options. You could pay with cash, but that’s a pain. You could use your debit or credit card, but all of the recent security breaches have you worried. How about one of the available mobile wallet solutions like Apple Pay or Google Wallet?

In reality, those are nothing more than your debit or credit card in an electronic format. Instead of swiping, you’re tapping. As a result, they operate on the same infrastructure as your debit and credit cards; a 30-year-old infrastructure with security vulnerabilities, hundreds of gateways, and tons of fees.

Pinn represents a fundamental shift in the way we transact. We started by eliminating the old infrastructure and plastic cards, then we implemented patented proximity authentication technologies, and finally we’ve figured out how to leverage behavioral machine-learning. The result of this is simple: a faster and more secure way to pay - with 1% flat processing rates (opposed to the traditional 3.5% plus 30 cents).

How do retailers leverage your solution?

Pinn provides retailers with a tablet to replace their credit card terminal. This tablet allows retailers to accept payments for a low 1% flat rate. But it doesn’t end there.

Pinn analytics combines traffic data and transaction data to give retailers insights that they’ve never had before. For instance, we can show a retailer what section of their store sells the most to females between the ages of 20 and 25, at 10:30 a.m., on a typical Sunday. These insights are invaluable to retailers, especially large chains.

What led to the development of the company?

About two years ago, I was standing in line at a coffee shop and realized I forgot my wallet. I looked around and found that everyone had a smartphone. That moment spark my entrepreneurial spirit and encouraged me to create a new way to pay. I pulled together a team and we created a QR code payment system.

After a number of failed meetings, we realized that QR codes were not the way of the future. If we wanted to disrupt the payments space, we needed to create something truly revolutionary. We started meeting with experts in retail, banking and security. Pinn is the culmination of the best elements of the hundreds of different solutions we vetted.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds