Oink (payment service)
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|Headquarters||Los Angeles, London|
|United States, Canada, Europe|
Pradeep Ittycheria Co Founder CTO
|Products||Youth payment system|
Number of employees
Oink is a payment enabler that allows children to safely make purchases online or in-store while keeping parents in control of all aspects of spending. The technology is COPPA-compliant, PCI DSS Level 1 compliant and TRUSTe certified. The company has been featured in many articles as the first company to digitize a teen's monthly allowance. Forbes referred to the service as "PayPal for Kids".
Oink is notable for being the first, and currently the only service that enables transactions for under-13 users that are COPPA-compliant. This means the service is the only way for someone 12 or younger to make an online purchase without violating these laws regulated by the FTC, which heavily restrict which personal information a company is permitted to collect from a child. Because Oink's checkout process only requires the child to provide a username and password to check out, these issues are avoided, keeping the process safe.
Oink is the only COPPA-compliant payment technology designed to allow retailers and game publishers to reach under-21 consumers in a safe, legal and effective manner.
On January 28, 2014, Oink announced that over one million users have signed up for their family wallet solution to shop safely, and securely online.
The notability of this technology was recognized by Frost & Sullivan, who gave Virtual Piggy their 2012 Entrepreneurial Company of the Year award in Digital Media. Their report details the innovative nature of the service, and the impact they anticipate it will have on eCommerce.
Virtual Piggy initially launched in 2008 as a product of Moggle Inc., located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founder Dr. Jo Webber and co-founder Pradeep Ittycheria created Virtual Piggy to provide a safe way for children to transact online. It became a publicly traded company in October 2008. In March 2011, the Virtual Piggy service was awarded the TRUSTe Children’s Privacy Seal, and was certified COPPA compliant. March 2012 saw Founder and Chairman Dr. Jo Webber take on the role of CEO. The company relocated to Hermosa Beach, California in June 2012. In Fall 2011, the company dropped the Moggle Inc. name, and became Virtual Piggy, Inc. Virtual Piggy's Board of Advisors includes a number of notable celebrities, including Stedman Graham, Sela Ward and John Paul DeJoria It is publicly traded at the symbol VPIG.
As of December 4, 2013, the name of the Virtual Piggy youth payments solution has been changed to Oink. The corporate name remains as Virtual Piggy.
Virtual Piggy's service works by allowing a parent to register an account, which can then set up parameters for child accounts. Because the parent account stores all personal information, a child is able to make a purchase without providing any of their personal information. A parent first registers their own account. The parent can then assign individual child accounts to multiple children. Within each child account, the parent is able to control how much money is available to the child, how often they receive new funds (a monthly allowance), which merchants the child is allowed to buy from, and any desired spending limits. The parent is also able to "turn off" the child accounts, and request notifications when purchases are made. The child is able to log in to their account, which tracks recent purchases, funds available, savings goals and charitable donations. In June 2015, Oink updated their app to include P2P payments functionality between users and family and friends.
Upon checkout, the child chooses the Oink payment option. The child is then prompted to enter their Oink username and password. If there are sufficient funds in the account, and the purchase matches the parameters set up by the parent, the transaction is completed.
Because the child never provides any personally identifiable information as a part of the purchase process (such as a name, residential address, email address or credit card), the transaction is COPPA compliant. The merchant is able to ship any physical items to the child using the mailing address provided in the parent account.
The Virtual Piggy payment option appears on many leading teen and tween brands websites and online gaming companies, including K'Nex, Claire's, Deb Shops, Fathead, Ty, Inc., Habbo, World of Tanks, and Woozworld. Virtual Piggy has integrated with major e-commerce platforms including eBay's Magento platform, DemandWare, Oracle's ATG, OsCommerce and LiveGamer.
The company also has marketplace for digital gift cards that children can safely purchase, located at mall.oink.com. The store offers digital gift cards from brands like Zappos, Barnes & Noble, Sephora and Foot Locker. Children can also donate to the charity of their choice at donate.virtualpiggy.com.
In the news
Virtual Piggy has received some press in regards to unauthorized child spending, and how its technology presents a good safeguard for parents. The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The Los Angeles Times have published features on the company in regards to this issue. Virtual Piggy Founder and CEO Dr. Jo Webber has also been featured on numerous outlets promoting Virtual Piggy, including WJLA-TV's Let's Talk Live, and Fox News Live. Virtual Piggy's Advisory Board Member and Emmy Award winning actress Sela Ward has appeared on Morning Joe and The Rachael Ray Show to discuss Virtual Piggy.
With the launch of the Oink Card, several members of Oink's Advisory Board were spotted discussing the Oink Card in the News. John Paul DeJoria discussed the Oink Card on WSJ Live  and Bloomberg TV  in November 2014.
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