Thumzap — presuming it can get decent traction with online sellers and app developers — is a pretty neat idea. The U.S.-registered startup, with R&D out of Tel Aviv, has developed a payments platform that reduces the friction for teens, who might not otherwise have a means of paying, to shop online.
The concept is simple: developers can add a ‘Just Ask’ button as a payment option upon checkout, whereby the child’s parent, or whoever they designate, are notified about the proposed purchase. That person is then given the option to pay, with their payment details never revealed to the gift’s recipient.
Aside from the potential for abuse, including encouraging even more ‘pester power‘ (that is the ability for children to pressurise their parents into making purchases), the business case makes a certain amount of sense.
Currently children’s spending options are mostly limited to gift cards or pre-paid credit cards, while Thumzap’s solution hopes to pick up the slack left by those limited options, essentially converting non-paying users to paying ones, indirectly at least. That’s if the ‘Just Ask’ button can become anywhere near to ubiquitous. A big if you might say.
“There are endless apps for teens to install and use at their fingertips. However, without a credit card and eligible age, their purchasing possibilities are very limited and as such, are left outside of the mobile payment revolution,” the startup tells TechCrunch.
“Thumzap’s solution enables teens to send a request from within any participating app to their parents to approve and execute the actual purchase from any device. It’s easy and fun for the teens, secure and simple for the parents.”
The startup’s business model is simple, too, taking a small cut from the payments it processes.
Meanwhile, Thumzap is disclosing that it has closed a $3 million in seed funding. Investors include California-based Sierra Wasatch Capital as well as Israeli angels Eilon Tirosh (Wix, Zooz, Tonara), Yuval Tal (Payoneer, Borderfree BRDR: NASDAQ) and Ron Zuckerman (Whipclip, Wintegra, Precise Software).