An Unmatched Solution for Credit and Debit Card Security

June 8, 2021

“Social security, bank account, and credit card numbers aren’t just data. In the wrong hands they can wipe out someone’s life savings, wreck their credit and cause financial ruin.”   – Melissa Bean, US Politician

When you pick up one end of a stick, the other end comes with it. The prescience of this Steven Covey statement can be appreciated in the context of digital payments worldwide. Credit/debit cards are the backbone of payments for e-commerce transactions as well as e-payment of bills. But if cards represent one end of the stick, the rise in instances of card fraud is the other. It is estimated that while card transactions are growing at 31% p.a., instances of frauds are growing at 25% p a. Increasing card usage is one of the best opportunities to boost revenues and margins for banks. Given the powerful combination of India’s demographics and the rapidly-increasing penetration of affordable smartphones and internet connectivity, users from smaller towns and semi-urban areas represent another vital customer segment for Indian banks.

Actively encouraging these two customer segments to drive up first-time and repeat usage of card products is vital for sustaining banks’ profitable growth. Letting non-card payment modes gain a foothold will be a serious threat for banks. However, if existing and new customers do not feel adequately protected against the risk of card misuse and fraud, they will inevitably gravitate towards other payment options (e.g., internet-banking or using mobile payment apps). Banks and regulators have responded by adding security features to cards for e.g.,EMV & 2FA. However such features do not alter how physical cards are used: authentication of every transaction requires credentials such as card number, CVV etc. to be transmitted over networks. Last-mile network security cannot be guaranteed every time a user transacts online or uses a POS at a merchant location. There is also the ever-present risk of cards being illegally skimmed or cloned and used for transactions even when the card is physically not presented. Not surprisingly, CNP frauds are rising sharply. And then there is the risk of credentials being misused if a device is stolen/lost or through phishing. Clearly, it is time for change- and not just incremental change but a paradigm shift, in terms of how cards are used. And your bank can well be at the forefront of this revolutionary transformation!

A Secure Card Solution That’s Ideal For Your Bank What if your bank could offer your customers a card that delivers all the capabilities of conventional debit/credit/prepaid cards without customers actually having to ever carry a physical card? Ah, you say- but Visa and Mastercard already have virtual cards, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is that this solution does not need a physical card. And yet, it offers multi-level security features that will give your customers complete peace of mind. One level of trust and safety comes from not having to ever send the actual card credentials over the network for authenticating any transaction. The original card credentials remain in the safe custody of the bank/switch and customer. What gets sent over a network for authentication and approval are dynamically-generated numbers that are unique to each transaction. The second level of security comes from the fact that the “card number” generated for a particular transaction self-destructs seconds after the authentication is completed. This means that even if the phone is lost/stolen or found in “unlocked” condition, nobody else can use the card for any unauthorized transactions. In addition to one-time transactions, the solution can be used for recurring card payments as well. The solution can also be adapted for use as ATM cards, so your customers have all the flexibility and convenience associated with conventional cards, but with super-strong security features. The pandemic has created a phobia in all of us when it comes to touching surfaces at banks or merchant establishments. Our solution makes your cards truly and fully contactless, which is an important way in which you can differentiate yourselves by giving peace of mind to your customers at a time when fears of infection have not entirely gone. The QR code generated by our solution can be read by suitably-equipped ATMs and POS systems. The solution also supports PIN-based 2FA (two factor authentication), giving the customer (and merchant) a choice to touch or not to touch.

In India, reliable connectivity is a challenge; mobile signals can be erratic too- even non-existent in certain areas, depending on proximity to your service provider’s tower. For customers on the move who need to use your cards, our solution is a boon because it works even without network connectivity. This is an all-round win- for the customer, the merchant, your bank and of course, the card network. With our solution offering so many tangible benefits, adopting it will clearly boost your customers’ confidence in using your card products. On the one hand, increased adoption by your customer base and a higher frequency of card use will help improve revenues. On the other, by eliminating the need for a physical card, your bank can save money on printing and logistics associated with delivering cards to your customers. In the process, your bank can also reduce its carbon footprint, which might just make you more attractive to millennials, who are very aware of and conscious about social and environmental matters. This innovative technology has been powered by Manipal Technologies Limited, a global thought leader and innovative disruptor of credit/debit card malpractices and frauds.