LAS VEGAS -- The Hypr-3 is a thin, light gadget that aims to lend the power and convenience of mobile payments to any device with Bluetooth connectivity. An app serves as a mobile wallet to securely store your credit and debit cards, but there's also an open API, so developers can make their own apps, or integrate support into existing wares. I had a chance to check it out here at CES 2015, and it's a neat little tool that costs just $20.
The Hypr-3 is designed around the idea of three-factor authentication. The first factor is something you have. In this case, it's a 3.2mm thick stick that serves as an encrypted token generator. You can stick it onto the back of your phone, or anywhere really -- the representative I spoke with keeps his on a keychain, and Bluetooth connectivity allows it to pair with your Bluetooth-equipped device from a few feet away.
The second factor is something you are: that's taken care of by the built-in fingerprint reader. Swipe your finger, and the Hypr-3 transmits an encrypted token to your phone that indicates that you are, in fact, you.
The third factor is something you know, which is generally a pin number that unlocks your device. Your device -- which can be an Android or iOS phone or tablet, or even a PC -- will then transmit a message out to the cloud that the transaction has been authorized. And the merchant can treat it like any other mobile transaction -- just tap your NFC-equipped phone onto an NFC terminal.
The idea is that a ne'er do well would need to know your pin number, have access to your Hypr-3, and have your finger, before they could make an unauthorized transaction. Authentication occurs up in the cloud, circumventing malware that might have hijacked your device. And the Hypr-3 uses CR216 batteries (the sort you'd find in a watch) and will last for over a year, so you won't need to worry about the battery dying while you're out shopping.
An app that serves as a mobile wallet will store your credit and debit card details, much like Google Wallet or . But Hypr-3 also offers support for Bitcoin transactions. If a merchant supports Bitcoins but you don't own any, the Hypr-3 app will connect to the Internet, calculate the dollar value of a Bitcoin transaction, and charge that amount to your credit or debit card -- no Bitcoins required.
An open API also means that developers can potentially create apps of their own: a bank might integrate Hypr-3 support into its existing app, for example. Given the cheap price, simple operation and support for just about anything that supports Bluetooth, there's quite a bit of potential here.
You can pre-order the Hypr-3 right now for just $20, which converts to around £13 or AU$25. It'll be available in June in the US, and information on availability in other countries will be revealed soon.