Virtual Piggy, the creator of the Oink payment technology for families and teens, has released version 2.0 of its Oink app.

Jo Webber of Virtual Piggy, maker of Oink

Above: Jo Webber of Virtual Piggy, maker of Oink

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

The new app improves the mobile shopping experience for teens, including a newly patented technology that allows them to view offers from popular retailers by category and then save their favorites to revisit later in a store or online.

Jo Webber, chief executive of Oink, founded the company (as Virtual Piggy) in 2008. It took several years to get certified: The company started getting merchants on board in 2012, while in 2013, it saw more rapid growth in its user base. The company has customers in the U.S., U.K, and Canada. It has plans for international expansion.

“Our new app allows consumers to shop at Oink-partner retailers directly from their mobile devices and make purchases using their digital wallet, which is linked to a personal account,” said Webber, in a statement. “It’s a real win for parents, but also for teens whose shopping experience will now be tailored to their likes and interests.”

Teens are a lucrative market segment, as there are 2 billion of them who spend about $800 billion a year around the globe. Many teens use gift cards, but the providers of those cards often take a 20 percent fee for a transaction. Oink’s fees are more in line with the traditional 3 percent fee associated with a credit card. As such, they are less expensive for merchants to use, and they prevent expensive chargebacks for merchants if a child makes unauthorized purchases.

Parents can open Oink accounts for kids or teens, allowing them to spend money in virtual worlds and online games in a safe manner. Oink has a seal of approval from the TRUSTe children’s privacy program and the game industry’s Entertainment Software Rating Board. It works with other major payment methods such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PlaySpan, and PayPal. With Oink, parents don’t have to approve every single transaction in online game worlds, and they also don’t have to worry about a child spending more than their allotted allowance. Parents can review Oink transactions to monitor their activity if needed.

Oink has 34 employees in the U.S. and the U.K. To date, the company has raised $39 million dollars. The Oink App utilizes US Patent No.: 8,762,230.

Oink is now competing with Apple Pay, the new digital wallet and payment system created by Apple. It will be interesting to see how this competition develops.



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