We currently find ourselves in a frenzy of e-payment
revolution: the payments field is dotted with players as diverse in
product as they are in approach. From
bitcoin and blockchain enthusiasts, to crowdfunding platforms,
to every type of
payment app imaginable, everyone seems to agree only on one
thing: the traditional credit card's days are
Yet maybe the idea of carrying a card in your pocket
is not—after all, everyone's done it for over half a
century now, the infrastructure for it has been in place for
generations, and, well, people are used to it. Mr Hunz Lee, whom we
feature in this article in our continuing series of FinTech
spotlights, is the CEO of APS.
Mr Lee (pictured above) spoke to us about how the
card may live on in a completely retooled fashion. First, though, I
asked him for a description of his company in 140 characters or
APS is a FinTech security company specialised in credit/debit
cards with innovative technologies such as e-paper and
OK, with no character limit... what exactly is the APS
The APS card functions no differently from a conventional card,
but with the added feature that it's equipped with technologies
like e-paper, Bluetooth, a battery, and an NFC antenna... all
fitted to meet ISO standards. It's less than 0.84 mm thick.
"APS" stands for Activation Power System, which
provides fraud protection. When you make a payment with it, the
credit or debit card needs to be activated by pressing the power
button, which then prompts you to confirm the transaction via your
smartphone. All the data contained on the card is available only
when the user activates the card—at all other times the
credit card information remains hidden and blocked.
There are lots of FinTech companies trying to revolutionise
payment at the moment. How is APS different?
APS is all about security, with technologies to block fraud
attempts, which cost people 40 billion USD each year. The APS card
is also not an electronic appliance like some, or even most, other
e-payment offerings. Rather, it's the same as a conventional
credit card and can thus utlilise the existing payment networks and
terminals that are already widespread and firmly in use.
I would also like to mention is the price—when it comes to
revolutions, I can indeed say that we have revolutionised the price
for such an e-payment solution.
What stage of growth are you in currently?
We incorporated as a company in April this year, but we had been
preparing for that for over two years. APS has made a huge effort
to make the price reasonable, so I would say that the first
milestone was achieving our incomparably low price.
We've also solved and patented the battery issue. One of our
biggest challenges was making this battery-equipped credit card
last more than five years, since that is the normal credit card
expiry term, without forcing users to go through the effort of
recharging—because recharging a credit/debit card is
something I, and probably everyone, would not like to do.
The next milestone that we're looking forward to is set to
occur in the third and fourth quarter of this year: we will be
testing real, bank-issued APS credit cards in Luxembourg.
As we are based in Luxembourg, our marketing strategy involves
utilising existing supply channels by opening our patent to speed
up the spread of the APS card, first in Europe then the US and
How did you come to be set up in Luxembourg?
Europe was our first target market because of its EMV credit
card diffusion, so we were already looking in this part of the
world. Luxembourg is a gateway to the European market
geographically and economically, and we were (and are) also
impressed by the Luxembourg government's support for the
FinTech industry. Plus, the easy networking has also been an
attraction. So far, I can't complain about the business
environment but if I must name a disadvantage it would be the speed
of business, for example some compliance processes, which can be a
bit slower than I expected.
And finally... what are the last three apps that you
The last three apps? Those would be... atHome.lu as I'm a
newcomer here, SkyScanner as I travel a lot, and Linkedin for
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