Detail of a handheld device developed by LeeAnn Bell of Centerville for securely storing passwords is now available in retail stores. Passwords Fast was developed by Bell with help from two engineers, and allows users to safely organize and store usernames and passwords for computers, web sites, online bank and credit card accounts, retirement portfolios and more. The device doesn't connect to the Internet or a computer, which makes it more secure.
Photo: Staff photo by Jim Witmer
Photo: Staff photo by Jim Witmer

Forget your password? This device may help

A Denver-area company has acquired a handheld device developed by a Centerville woman for securely storing online access information and will test-market the product starting this month at 50 Batteries Plus stores in select markets. The product could expand to other chains including Walgreens and CVS if sales are successful, officials said.

PasswordsFast was created by LeAnn Bell, a senior project development manager at Aimia in Dayton, with help from Matt Reddick, a software engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The device retails for $19.95 and stores users’ sensitive login and password information for web sites, online bank and credit card accounts, and other such applications.

Bell said PasswordsFast uses an advanced encryption standard and doesn’t connect to a computer or the Internet, which keeps it secure from hackers. “No one can get into this and get your passwords,” she said. Users only need to remember one password to access the device.

Colorado-based Creative Products Group LLC has acquired the product rights and will bring it to market, said Rob Wilcox, the company’s chief executive.

Wilcox said the product’s secure design makes it safer than writing passwords on slips of paper, or storing them on an Internet-connected computer or smartphone. It also helps users remember increasingly complex passwords, which often require certain lengths, special characters or frequent changing, he said.

“I felt comfortable it would make a great impulse (purchase) item,” Wilcox said.

Bell came up with the idea for PasswordsFast about eight years ago while working at Reynolds & Reynolds in Kettering. Reddick developed the software; the hardware was designed in China, where the device is manufactured.

Bell and her husband invested $60,000 of their own funds into the project, with an additional $14,000 from Reddick. “We had to drain an IRA account,” she said.

Wilcox said his company has invested from $50,000 to $60,000 to date to prepare the product for launch, including packaging, distribution and marketing.

“We get a straight percentage of the net sales,” Bell said.

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