Is Charlie Finance Safe?

by | Jun 26, 2019

We live in an era of constant data breaches, identity theft, and online fraud. It often feels like a game of, “Who do you trust?” every time an app asks for your private information.

Keeping your personal and financial information secure is our highest priority at Charlie. Without trust, there is no Charlie, so we would never do anything to jeopardize your trust in us.

The level of trust you show us by signing up for Charlie (or other payment, budgeting, and finance apps like PayPal, Venmo, Acorns, etc.) isn’t something we take lightly. We take that trust seriously and have replicated the same security protocol used by major financial institutions.

So, how does Charlie keep your data safe?

For starters, Charlie doesn’t actually know your bank account password.

First and foremost, Charlie is on a need-to-know basis. If Charlie doesn’t need to know something, he simply doesn’t.

When you sign up for Charlie and log into your bank account, he never sees your banking password. It’s as if Charlie blindfolds himself while handing your password to your bank.

After confirming your password the bank knows it can trust Charlie, but Charlie doesn’t know or keep track of your passwords. So, if hackers come looking for your password, they’ll never find it. Why? Well, it’s hard to find something that doesn’t exist.

Charlie keeps his flippers off of your money.

Because Charlie doesn’t ever need to touch your money — he simply can’t. When we request access to your bank account, it is read-only access. We can see where your money goes (so Charlie can find you some sweet, sweet deals and help you stay on track), but we couldn’t move your money even if we wanted to.

Charlie is very careful about who he works with.

When we work with partners, we always vet them and make sure they care about your privacy as much as we do.

For instance, we rely on Plaid to help Charlie provide access to over 10,000 banks and credit unions. And Amazon Web Services is where all the penguin magic happens allowing you to talk to Charlie 24/7.

Both have rigorous security protocols that have been publicly verified by third-parties. Charlie only works with the best of the best.  

Charlie only tells others what they absolutely need to know.

Charlie is a social penguin, and saving money is a team sport! Sometimes Charlie can find you a better deal or save you some cash by working with a trusted friend. If any of Charlie’s friends ask for your data, Charlie will only share what that third party absolutely needs to help you.

For instance, if you’d like to see how to save money on your cable bill, Charlie might share your anonymized monthly Comcast spend with Billshark. To call Comcast on your behalf (and save you $$), Billshark may need some additional personal information, such as your billing address or birthday. Charlie would only share this information with your explicit permission and only if Billshark really needs it.

Charlie does not, under any circumstances, give blanket access to your financial data to any third parties.

Math is on Charlie’s side.

Geek Alert: Behind the scenes, there’s some pretty cool math that makes all of this possible. Whenever Charlie sends or receives your private information, he always uses AES-256 encryption. If a hacker had 50 supercomputers, they’d need 3,000 trillion trillion trillion trillion years (that’s a 3 with 51 zeros after it) to hack your private data. Cool right?

But what about Facebook?

Oh, right. Charlie does work with Facebook Messenger. And Facebook is a bit of an elephant in the privacy room and historically not the best stewards of private user data. (*Cough cough* Cambridge Analytica.) There are two important things to know here:

  1. Facebook never has access to your bank data. They don’t see your transactions. They don’t know your password. (Not even Charlie does!)
  2. Facebook can see your messages with Charlie, but the good news is that Facebook has publicly committed to increasing Messenger’s privacy. In particular, as of 2019, Facebook has stated that they are working towards “end-to-end encryption” for all of their messaging apps. What does this mean? In the future, not even Facebook will be able to read your messages with Charlie.

Do you have any additional questions? Or maybe you just want to talk about cryptography? Feel free to reach out to Charlie anytime at support@hicharlie.co.

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