Firms Unveil Tokenization Solution for Safer Cashless Transactions

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The need for heightened focus on security in the payments ecosystem to foster a safer, more inclusive environment has again been emphasized by Interswitch and Providus Bank.

One of the ways to address this issue, according to the two organizations, is through a tokenization solution, which has now been developed.

At the unveiling of the initiative, jointly developed by Interswitch, Providus Bank, Mastercard, and Thales, it was stressed that tokenization would encourage more Nigerians to accept cashless transactions.

It was disclosed that the solution was created due to the demand for a more convenient, accessible, and secure means of conducting everyday financial transactions by consumers.

In his opening remarks, the Managing Director of Digital Infrastructure and Managed Services at Interswitch Group, Mr Jonah Adams, explained that the collaboration that birthed the tokenization was crucial, as it opened up realms of possibilities in the payments ecosystem, not only within Nigeria but in Africa as a whole.

He noted that the tokenization solution was a first-of-its-kind solution in West Africa and the sub-Saharan region, with everyday transactions happening at the speed of thought. He posited that it would transform the payment space and merchant acquiring space.

According to him, tokenization as a solution was designed to enable more personalized, speedy, secure and convenient payment interactions.

It enables consumers’ 16-digit Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) to be replaced with unique identifiers to keep fraudsters from accessing the personal details of end users.

Tokenisation is at the heart of connected devices. It will allow users to carry out financial transactions using their electronic devices or payment cards, knowing that such transactions are safe and secure.

Speaking during the panel session on the need for timely solutions such as tokenization, the Group Head of Business Development at Interswitch Purepay, Mr Babatunde Okufi, also emphasized the need for fintechs and financial institutions to design more innovative and intuitive solutions that keep the funds and data of end users safe.

“The emergence of COVID-19 shifted consumer behaviour. And as more consumers get on the digital payments train, there will be more fraud cases. Fraudsters innovate, and players in the payments space should also innovate to ensure that they gain higher grounds on these cyber attackers,” he said.

Mr Okufi noted that to curb the prevailing cases of e-fraud, rules have been instituted. These rules include the introduction of transaction limitations, leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI), and effective fund transaction tracking between sender and receiver.

On his part, the Divisional Head of eBusiness at Providus Bank, Mr Frank Atat, who was also a panellist, proffered that partnerships between key stakeholders remain crucial in helping to improve payment convenience and reduce cyber threats through the deployment of cyber tools.

Mr Atat noted that with more stringent safety measures, consumers would increasingly adopt digital payment methods, adding that many Nigerians were unaware of the benefits of digital payments owing to the lack of widespread awareness. However, to address this challenge, he suggested collaboration between players in the ecosystem.

Echoing Mr Atat’s sentiments was Mr Peter Ehizogie, Regional Manager, Product Sales-Cyber & Intelligence Solutions (West Africa), Mastercard, who said that consumers would naturally gravitate towards digital payments once they can trust payment platforms with their funds.

“Collaborations between players in the payments space will aid the widespread adoption of digital payment, and this can only be achieved when we have gained the trust of these consumers,” Mr Ehizogie said.

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