Managing Security Risks In An Increasingly Digital Payments Environment

The acceptance of digital payments has significantly increased while people are moving towards a cashless economy. The shift wouldn’t be possible without some of the factors that have contributed to the growth and proliferation of digitization, including increasing mobile phone penetration, demonetization, and lower cost of service delivery.

While these factors have actively contributed, the current global scenario amidst the Covid-19 pandemic has positively promoted the usage of digital wallets. Since the novel coronavirus is highly transmissible, cash payments are discouraged with currency notes suspected of being the carriers of this contagious disease.

Even now, banks are also discouraging customers from visiting branches, asking them to shift to digital payments instead.

Risks rise in parallel with growth in digital payments

While consumer behavior shifts rapidly toward digital payment solutions in what can be called a very healthy and overdue development, cases of financial fraud have also surged at an alarming rate and have made people more vulnerable to new tactics deployed by scammers.

With a multitude of digital transactions happening via mobile phones, the chances of a security breach do exist.

Keeping in view the benefits of digital payments that are evidently greater than cash, there is a need of minimizing the risk in digital transactions while maintaining simplicity, security, and ubiquity being the watchwords for any payment system or gateway to succeed.

Steps being taken by Pakistani fin-tech players

Thankfully in Pakistan, as per State Bank of Pakistan’s instruction, banks and digital payments platforms are constantly upgrading their security and encryption systems to keep customers’ data and money safe.

For this, banks and fin-tech companies are making use of conventional tools like secure PINs for login and One-time Transaction Passwords (OTP), regular back-end updates as well as the integration of more innovative mediums like blockchain technology and machine learning enabling customers to perform a diverse range of transactions in a secure environment.

By bolstering their security systems, digital payment platforms make sure that their customers’ money is safe, which not only enhances their credibility but also empowers customers by providing a safe environment and reliable solutions for being able to operate effectively.

Mobile payments platforms step up security protocols

The most widely used mobile payment platforms in Pakistan such as Easypaisa, JazzCash, UPaisa, and the likes have also taken measures to safeguard their customers’ assets and their ability to transact in a safe and swift manner, ensuring that both their money and information are in safe hands.

Given the spike in deceptive and fraudulent calls and SMSs, banks as well as digital payments platforms continue to educate customers regularly against falling victim to such actions. Processes of implementing systems are also in place which could further prevent such occurrences from happening to unsuspecting customers.

No financial institution ever asks for confidential information from customers on SMS, Email, hyperlinks, websites, or phone calls.

Through awareness campaigns, these financial institutions are also educating customers on acting more responsibly cautiously when it comes to sharing their personal info. They’re being made aware that no financial institution ever asks for confidential information from customers on SMS, Email, hyperlinks, websites, or phone calls.

How customers can avoid being scammed

Banking customers need to be proactive and not share their personal details such as bank account information CNIC, OTP/ATM, PIN with anyone pretending to call or communicate from SBP, BISP, FIA, NAB, Army, or any other organization/agency.

They should be cautious when random persons call them in scenarios created to generate sympathy leading to customers lowering their guard and sharing confidential information.

If a customer is faced with such a scenario where they are asked for information about their bank accounts, they should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Why is this person asking for my bank account information or login details?
  • Is the number that the person is calling from a random one or the official helpline?
  • Even if the person is calling from the official helpline number, should I share my account information with them?
  • Did I perform the transaction or have I checked my account to verify what the random person is saying?
  • If it’s an official message from the bank, what exactly does it say or demand?

Customers should always remember that fraudsters use advanced social engineering techniques to scam you.  This can also mean that they are able to mask the phone numbers to make them look like the official helpline numbers.

So, whenever they get a call or message asking for their personal or account information, it’s recommended they ignore or cancel the call and call the relevant bank/financial service provider themselves to be sure.

Staying alert is important for staying protected

Users are required to be alert and be aware of the happenings regarding cybersecurity. Customers should get registered for SMS/Email alerts for their transactions. This way, any deceptive transaction conducted will be detected. Users can then call the company’s customer service and notify them about the occurrence.

Customers should also be wary of any website they are not familiar with which would require them to input confidential information.

Digital banking is the future and is poised to have a positive impact on the country’s economy. It is one of the reasons why so much credence is being given to these platforms. Provided the multiple levels of security that they offer, these platforms are becoming the new normal and the time is now ripe to drive digital payments across Pakistan using financial instruments that are backed by robust security solutions.

Mobile payment platforms enable customers to make almost every financial transaction online. Their scope is growing with the integration of international remittances, e-commerce, and insurance purchase, etc. being introduced directly within these programs.

Therefore, these platforms are ensuring that they provide customers with top-notch security features through the incorporation of the latest technologies.