Clear Card Ceases Operations

Steve Brill’s Clear Card closes operations

The company which aimed to help registered users pass through airport security more quickly and with less hassle, will fold operations as of 2 a.m. on Tuesday.  The New York-based Verified Identity Pass, Inc. is the company which operates Registered Traveler programs under the brand name Clear.

Clear began in 2005 with the potential to make airport security quicker and easier for frequent travelers. For an annual fee, Clear would collect information and put something through a government security check. Once cleared, the traveler, in theory, would have privileges at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. It was originally envisioned as a “trusted traveler” program.

On it’s website, FlyClear.com, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. states it had been unable to negotiate an agreement with its creditors to continue operations.

Spark Capital, which led the $44.4 million round Clear announced less than a year ago, is a venture group that’s now best known as one of Twitter’s primary backers. This is the relatively young firm’s biggest dud, by a long shot. And Clear’s founder Steve Brill, who stepped down as CEO in March, has been in media forever, and used to be known as the guy behind CourtTV and the American Lawyer. He’s now one of the three men pushing Journalism Online, which wants to run the payment infrastructure for a yet-to-be-created online content system.

Travelers who aren’t part of the Clear program wonder how it’s closure will effect other travelers.

“It’s a shame. I think its a great idea. It gets people through security better,” said traveler Michael Robbie. “It’s better for the people who are members of the Clear program, and it frees people up so the others can get through faster too.”

Orlando International Airport was the test site of the first Clear Card, launched in July of 2005. The high-tech biometric ID card permitted registered users to access designated airport security “fast lanes” nationwide. Clear members had their identities authenticated and maintained membership through an annual fee of approximately $200.

Via WSJ

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