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Blog · 13 Nov 2020

Using technology in payments to build better, secure customer relationships

How payment providers can step ahead of the cyber criminals and deliver a better customer experience by introducing new security technologies.

Every time a customer makes a card payment, it’s an act of trust. They’re trusting the card provider and businesses involved will keep their data and money safe during the transaction.

In many ways, it’s blind trust; they don’t understand the details, they just expect security to happen.

Ask any payments provider, and they’ll tell you that this is getting harder. New technology, new payment methods and the internet of things are expanding the ways consumers are digitally exposed. Providers are under pressure to shut down vulnerabilities before they get anywhere near consumers, providing easy-to-use security procedures that don’t get in the way of the quick, straightforward transactions consumers demand. 

The pandemic is increasing pressure on payment security

With people shopping online while staying at home and worries about cash spreading the virus, online digital payments have increased significantly. Cyber criminals have been quick to take advantage. Phishing scams, malicious banking apps and malware such as credit-card skimming code attack the consumer end of the transaction. And with Denial of Service and ransomware attacks, cyber criminals do their best to stop payment providers from working and having a relationship with their customers.

So how can providers step ahead of the cyber criminals and deliver a great experience at the same time? 

Here are some ideas of how technology can transform payments. Technology has the power to outpace the attackers, creating security that will keep consumers’ money and data safe in this high-risk environment. And it can also empower the consumer by giving them greater control over their security, helping to create a stronger relationship with their payment provider.

Tokenisation can transform the payment experience

You’ve probably heard of tokenisation in terms of its strong anti-fraud potential because of the way it substitutes payment card numbers for random strings of numbers that are worthless to fraudsters. This means that, instead of personal data passing through multiple payment systems, it’s swapped out for the token, and the actual data is stored in highly secure token vaults.

Tokenisation is an ideal technology for how we work now. Because remote working can make data more vulnerable, introducing tokenisation early into the process can help reduce risk. Instead of asking for details, the contact centre employee would simply press a button and the system would take over. It’s easy for the consumer, and a greater protection for providers.

Biometrics bring security and ease of use

The standout factor about biometric identification is that it’s a strong form of ID that’s easy for the customer to use, safely shaving nanoseconds off payment processes. We’re all probably familiar with putting a thumb on a sensor to authorise a payment, but what about simply speaking into or looking at a device to trigger a transaction? Voice biometrics have the potential to identify whether someone is under duress and can pick up and filter out bots. In the future, video will have the same abilities. Visual biometrics will validate what’s going on in a video call, for example when setting up a bank account, and will flag anything that should be checked out later.

Biometrics can even use elements consumers aren’t really aware of, such as the way they walk and how they use a keyboard. For providers, biometrics offer certainty, definitively connecting transactions to the individual. Plus, by using continuous biometrics, such as a combination of heart rate and facial expression, providers can be sure it’s the customer right the way through the transaction.

This technology improves security and is a strong route to improving the relationship between financial organisations and customers. Already, payment apps exist that let you call from the app without the need for any further checks on who you are, because you’ve already fully identified yourself when you logged into the app. The result? It cuts 30 seconds or so off the time it takes to complete a transaction and it’s easier for the customer. At the same time, the payment provider has upgraded their security with multiple layers of authentication, giving customers reassurance and peace of mind.

App technology is introducing a new approach to security

In the near future, apps will be putting more control over security into consumers’ hands using a two-way partnership between the bank and the customer. Imagine letting your app know you were planning on doing some online shopping so it could pre-verify the transactions, smoothing the whole process for you. Or perhaps you set a spending cap for the month with your app, and it queries any transactions that take you over that limit.

New entrants to the payments market are driving these developments, focusing on easy user interactions. Older players can learn a lot, but also have a strong heritage base to build on. If they can mix the heritage and technology paths together, they can simulate the warm, trusted feeling of visiting a branch digitally. In the future, tapping the logo on the app could be the first step to a secure and reassuring digital experience.

Personal blockchains could transform payments

The future will also bring blockchain, a potential fraud buster because it provides a single indisputable truth that can prove that a person, asset or transaction is genuine. It records internet transactions on the network and distributes time-stamped data at critical points across the internet. It’s essentially a shared, trusted, tamper-proof digital record.

Blockchain is already established in key financial areas such as mortgage applications, cross-border trading and currency exchange. But what if you could have a personal blockchain on your phone that you could use for transactions without having to link back to the bank for permission? You’d have rigorous security, combined with the power to make payments directly.

Creating a secure future for payments

There’s a lot going on in the payments sector right now, as providers look to balance rising customer expectations with increasing cyber threats. As new entrants and new collaborations shake up the industry, adopting innovative technologies offers a strong way to differentiate your business, but it must be done securely.

Download our new whitepaper to find out more about the latest security technologies and to explore the future of payments.