CashSentinel enables people who do not know or trust each other to instantly and safely exchange a large amount of money, using their mobile phones.
The Switzerland-based company’s platform works similar to an escrow service combined with a mobile wallet that transfers funds in real-time.
- Safer for both buyer and seller
Since neither party needs to carry cash, exchanging money for a vehicle is safer.
- The transaction is secure
The system has built-in accountability. The buyer cannot incorrectly claim they sent the payment and the seller cannot incorrectly claim they didn’t receive the payment.
After both parties have registered on the web or mobile platform, the transaction can take place either on the CashSentinel mobile app (available for iOS or Android), or via SMS; there is no need for a smartphone.
How it works
In the following example, a private party sells a used car to a private buyer; however, CashSentinel also works for small, commercial sellers and is not limited to vehicles.
1) Buyer loads funds
After the buyer registers online, CashSentinel verifies their identity by mailing them a secret word, which they will use later in the transaction (see step 4). Once the potential buyer finds a vehicle they’d like to purchase, they load the required amount of money onto the CashSentinel platform. If they decide not to purchase the vehicle, they can recoup the money in full.
2) Seller verifies
After the buyer loads the funds onto CashSentinel, they enter the seller’s phone number. This prompts CashSentinel to send the seller a push notification that the funds are ready.
To ensure that the buyer is serious, CashSentinel enables the seller to verify that sufficient funds have been loaded onto the platform (see below).
3) Transfer funds
When the parties meet in person to exchange the vehicle and agree on a price, they transfer the payment. They consent to the exchange by entering each others’ private, six-digit code (see below).
After the buyer and the seller exchange their 6-digit codes, both need to finalize the transaction by confirming the amount. To do so, the buyer enters the secret word received in the mail. CashSentinel transfers the funds from the buyer to the seller and the transaction is irreversible.
Because funds are transferred instantly, the buyer drives away in the vehicle with the seller knowing the funds are good.
The service is entirely free for the seller. The buyer pays a tiered flat-rate that varies by the purchase price of the item.
CashSentinel currently works only in Switzerland, but the company plans to expand operations into the European Union later this year.
CashSentinel demonstrated at FinovateEurope 2015 in London.