Se­cure mo­bile trans­ac­tions

May­bank be­lieves that Sam­sung Pay pro­vides safe cash­less pay­ments.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Technology - By SHARMILA NAIR bytz@thes­tar.com.my

SE­CU­RITY is a ma­jor fac­tor when it comes to mo­bile wal­lets, and May­bank Group chief strat­egy of­fi­cer Michael Foong as­sures that it is top pri­or­ity where Sam­sung Pay is in­volved.

Sam­sung Pay dig­i­tal wal­let en­ables cus­tomers to make cash­less pay­ments charged to their May­bank cards via smart­phones and other hand­held de­vices, with­out hav­ing to use the phys­i­cal credit or debit card. It can be used at any card ter­mi­nal around the world where Sam­sung Pay is avail­able.

“We have had many ques­tions about whether bind­ing your credit cards to your phone is in­her­ently risky, and I can tell you that it is a lot more se­cure than car­ry­ing an ana­logue wal­let in your back pocket or purse that con­tains a few plas­tic cards.

“Why do I say that? The first rea­son is be­havioural. You could leave your hand­bag, or your wal­let in your desk, and not re­fer to it for hours some­times. But to­day’s be­hav­iour is that the phone never leaves your sight. There is a higher prob­a­bil­ity of you los­ing your plas­tic card ver­sus you los­ing your phone. When you lose your phone, you would re­alise it in a mat­ter of min­utes, but you could lose your plas­tic cards and not re­alise it for hours,” says Foong.

Unique safety fea­tures

How­ever, the pro­tec­tion of data in May­bank and Sam­sung Pay lies deeper than just that, he says.

“Point num­ber two is to­keni­sa­tion. Your ac­tual credit card num­ber that is printed on your plas­tic card is not stored in your phone. Even if you could hack into the phone, you wouldn’t get the credit card num­ber.”

To­keni­sa­tion is a method of pro­tect­ing pay­ment card in­for­ma­tion by sub­sti­tut­ing the card’s num­ber with a unique al­phanu­meric iden­ti­fier, gen­er­ated us­ing pro­pri­etary al­go­rithms.

To­kenised data is not math­e­mat­i­cally re­versible and is use­less un­less you have the orig­i­nal key used to cre­ate the to­ken, lim­it­ing the chance of your pay­ment in­for­ma­tion be­ing stolen or com­pro­mised.

The unique iden­ti­fier, or to­ken, is then used for send­ing the trans­ac­tion to the card’s pay­ment net­work, where it is de­crypted and the trans­ac­tion au­tho­rised. The ac­tual card num­ber is stored in a se­cret vault (with the pay­ment pro­ces­sor or bank) and does not re­side on the mer­chant’s or Sam­sung’s sys­tems.

To­keni­sa­tion is used to re­duce se­cu­rity risks in­her­ent in the col­lec­tion and trans­fer of highly sen­si­tive data be­tween mer­chants and the card’s pay­ment net­work.

“The third point is bio­met­rics. Even if the phone is stolen, with­out au­then­ti­ca­tion by your finger­print or your pass­word, you can­not ac­cess the credit card that is bound to the phone,” ex­plains Foong. “I firmly be­lieve that pay­ments us­ing Sam­sung Pay are a lot more se­cure than walk­ing around with credit cards or phys­i­cal cash.”

And to fur­ther drive his point, Foong shares that Sam­sung Knox, a de­fence-grade, mo­bile se­cu­rity plat­form built into Sam­sung de­vices, pro­vides the ul­ti­mate pro­tec­tion for Sam­sung Pay users.

“It is part of the hard­ware, where the de­tails of the cards are stored. It is such a good tech­nol­ogy, that if you try to hack into that part of the phone, it to­tally shuts down. The phone be­comes un­us­able.”

Foong feels that Sam­sung Pay pro­vides lots of value to their cus­tomers, pro­pel­ling them into the arena of mo­bile pay­ment that is se­cure and sim­ple to use.

“Many of our cus­tomers and the pub­lic gen­er­ally, are look­ing at mo­bile pay­ment as the next step in the us­age of their mo­bile phones. We be­lieve that pro­vid­ing a pay­ment modal­ity that is linked to the phone apart from cash or plas­tic cards, pro­vides them with some­thing that is so nat­u­ral.

“For ex­am­ple, when those who work here at Me­nara May­bank go down to buy cof­fee, they don’t need to bring their wal­lets. They can pay us­ing Sam­sung Pay, and get the re­ceipt in­stantly through elec­tronic means and see the trans­ac­tion hap­pen.”

Foong also be­lieves that Malaysia is build­ing up to­wards be­com­ing a cash­less pay­ment na­tion. “We still see a size­able pro­por­tion of trans­ac­tions done by cash, but the growth in the cash­less type or dig­i­tal type of pay­ment modal­ity is very fast.”

The num­ber of May­bank ac­tive users for mo­bile be­tween 20152016 grew by 36.7%. The num­ber of trans­ac­tions done on mo­bile for May­bank be­tween 2015-2016 also grew by 71.7%.

“This shows that peo­ple are em­brac­ing mo­bile pay­ments and trans­ac­tions, even above trans­ac­tions done on PCs or tablets. It also shows that there is a very sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial for mo­bile pay­ments to grow and we be­lieve that the growth in 2016-2017 will match th­ese num­bers or maybe in­crease in per­cent­age terms.”

He also adds that the num­ber of re­tail­ers us­ing Sam­sung Pay is also grow­ing, aided by the fact that it works even with mag­netic stripe ter­mi­nals.

“It com­mu­ni­cates the card’s de­tails from the phone to the Point of Sales (POS) ter­mi­nal us­ing the mag­netic stripe tech­nol­ogy. You can use Sam­sung Pay at any place that ac­cepts credit or debit cards. I be­lieve that the ac­cep­tance rate (among mer­chants) for the Sam­sung Pay service in Malaysia is north of 90%. It is also us­able in­ter­na­tion­ally. Any POS ter­mi­nal that has a magstripe reader or NFC reader will be able sup­port Sam­sung Pay,” he says.

Foong cites that it is tech­nol­ogy like Sam­sung Pay that helps po­si­tion the bank closely to their strate­gic ob­jec­tive of be­com­ing the dig­i­tal bank of choice.

“We like to fo­cus on our cus­tomer’s ex­pe­ri­ence and we be­lieve that by pro­vid­ing them with such a mo­bile service, it will al­low them to ex­pe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits.”

Foong says many users are look­ing at mo­bile pay­ment as the next step in the us­age of smart­phones. — S.S.KANESAN/The Star

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