April 1, 2016 -- When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), there are literally an infinite number of applications in a myriad of categories: refrigerators buying milk, wearables sending vitals to doctors, sensor-laden cars alerting owners of damage or maintenance, etc. In our financial services world, savings accounts, investments, and loans can be monitored, triggered, and adjusted anywhere, anytime. Well, credit union innovation think tank Best Innovation Group (BIG) has jumped on the IoT bandwagon and introduced a new member statement delivery system.
Unofficially dubbed “FinTOAST,” this unique member statement delivery system uses a toaster – yes, a toaster – to receive, archive, and “print out” a member’s statement each morning, providing a daily update for real-time monitoring. The kicker here is, instead of paper, member statements can be “printed” on actual toast for consumption – which leads to total secure environment. Upon consumption, the data is destroyed and cannot be reassembled.
According to BIG’s Founder and President John Best, FinTOAST works by receiving member account data from the credit union via wi-fi or LAN. It then uses programmable, micro-burners to “print” out the daily statement of the previous day’s transaction activity. The member simply provides the toaster with the last four digits of his/her account number and specific date they want to review via a Siri-like voice command. FinTOAST does the rest in about two minutes – depending on the ‘lighter/darker’ setting.
“For optimal legibility, we suggest the member move the setting to 5 or 6,” explains Best. “White bread – although, not as healthy as wheat – works best to read because of the obvious contrast. English muffins don’t work very well because of their smaller size and rugged texture. But the best thing we’ve discovered is that you don’t need a paper shredder to dispose of the ‘document.’ Digestion seems to do the trick. So it’s secure.”
“Our beta testers members have really enjoyed this unique project, as many have stated it’s ‘well done,’” says Best. “It’s given them a real taste of what else is on the horizon when it comes to the management and delivery of their financial information. We see it as an incredible breakthrough in this area of IoT for credit unions. It’s a new way to ‘consume’ your data.”
Best admits there have been some security concerns from a few members who had their toast taken from the toaster by immediate family members if they briefly stepped away. “We’ve found that this is only hiccup with the service,” he says. “Our advice is to stay and watch the toaster until the toast pops up to review your account. Once you’ve read the information, either consume it right away or spread some peanut butter over it and you should be good to go.”
Mike Lawson, Host
Married to a beautiful and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.