Exploring the latest innovations in electronic payment technologies

Banking and payment systems are becoming more complex all the time. They incorporate multiple technologies and increasingly diverse platform applications, driving the need to comply with an ever-growing number of technical standards and payment scheme requirements. Highly publicised breaches of consumer account data further serve to underscore the importance of data security and risk management, which are essential in order to protect both user privacy and brand reputation.

The greatest challenges in this arena are, firstly, balancing security with convenience and, secondly, reducing transaction costs without compromising security, convenience or efficiency.

With this in mind, UL made two presentations at the Seamless Africa conference, which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 14 and 15 March. Seamless Africa is the continent’s largest and longest-running conference dealing with card-based transactions and focuses on the converging worlds of e-commerce, retail and payments.

The first presentation, entitled The Future of Authentication, was made on 14th of March by Steven Jackets, Operations Manager for Middle East and Africa, from UL Transaction Security. Jackets explored the best ways in which to create a seamless transactional experience for retail and online customers, and addressed the burning challenge of balancing convenience with security.

As we are all aware, the ability to authenticate customers and transactions is essential to the success of the business value chain, so the presentation focussed on some of the latest developments in the field, including Facebook and Amazon authentication APIs, Samsung ventures in biometrics and trends in risk-based authentication.

Jackets, who is an expert in the field of smartcards, mobile payments and e-commerce, also outlined how the overall payment landscape is evolving and discussed what it takes to develop winning authentication strategies that will enable retailers to unlock new and expanded business models. He has been involved in e-payments for more than a decade and has overseen a number of first-to-market projects in the Africa/Middle East region, including the launch of the first EMV smartcards and the launch of multiple applications such as NFC on mobile, EMV in Transit and HCE on a tokenised issuer wallet. He has also been instrumental in launching a card scheme e-commerce/m-commerce payment profile.

The second presentation – on 15 March – was given by UL Transaction Security’s Sales Executive Africa, Cobus Nigrini, who addressed the tactical topic of how to reduce the costs of terminal EMV certification projects. He focussed on the Level 3 brand certification process, as well as on such technologies as NFC tags, eSE, UICC, mSD and smart wearables, all of which are set to take retailing into a whole new era.

Nigrini has overseen multiple brand certification projects throughout Africa and has an in-depth understanding of both the technical and commercial challenges associated with the use of EMV cards, payment terminals and other emerging technologies. He holds a number of professional accreditations and specialises in bridging the divide between technology and business.

Both presentations have demonstrated that UL is a single, expert resource for all banking and payment system stakeholders. As a company with many decades of experience in this field, we are able to provide not only expert testing and certification at all stages of a project, but also guidance, advice and training throughout its lifecycle. We are further able to provide certified tools and simulators to help clients test their systems on a scheduled basis in order to ensure that they comply with all regulatory requirements.