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HPS POWERCARD USERS MEETING PUTS PAYMENTS UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT

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HPS POWERCARD USERS MEETING PUTS PAYMENTS UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT

More than 400 card experts and key speakers from 50 countries gathered in Marrakesh for the HPS PowerCARD Users Meeting last week (5-7 April 2017) to explore how they can collaborate to create the future of payments. 

Payments market in full reconfiguration, HPS tells card experts at 2017 users event

Digitization is reconfiguring the payments landscape and banks, FinTechs and technological activators, such as the e-commerce giants Amazon and Alibaba, must collaborate to “fight cash”.

That’s according to the electronic payments specialist HPS.

Speaking at the company’s biennial PowerCARD Users Meeting 2017 in Marrakesh, 5-7 April, HPS chairman and CEO, Mohamed Horani, said digitization was also driving the sharing economy and new business models.

“Thanks to digitization, the customer is more connected and better informed but also more demanding,” he said.

Horani highlighted the trend to a cashless society with the number of mobile payment users forecast to increase from 250m in 2013 to 450m in 2017. Payment cards, meanwhile remain the leading non-cash instrument, growing by 11.8% in 2014; while cheques suffered a -10% decline.

Horani highlighted new payments eco-systems, which have developed in markets including Sweden and Denmark, where 80% of transactions are already non-cash; plus the latest technology trends including AI and machine learning and the interaction between digital and physical experiences.

Horani told delegates HPS was focused on three pillars: PowerCARD products, providing structured payment solutions; delivery and business models and he revealed the company invested 12% of its annual revenues in R&D.

HPS customers want agility and need to be able to future proof their businesses, he explained. “We need to harness today’s achievements together, to build the right payments model, to help you best serve your customers tomorrow.”

Sebastien Slim, head of marketing and innovation, HPS (France), presented the latest PowerCARD product enhancements and key industry trends. Slim revealed HPS has won its first US customer and has deployed NFC technology for mobile payments in Japan, a top contactless market.

“We are now trying to enter new markets,” Slim told delegates.

Mobile payments, enabled through PowerCARD Tokenization in partnership with Gemalto, a leader in digital security, will be a key future payment technology, said Slim.

The process, in which account information is replaced by an alternate value called a token means issuers, merchants and processors who use them are able to significantly reduce the risk that sensitive cardholder data may be stolen.

Connected cars, as well as cards, are already a possibility, Slim added; referencing Jaguar and Shell’s new in-car payment system, which enables owners who install the Shell app to drive up to any pump at a Shell service station (initially in the UK and then globally) and use the vehicle’s touchscreen to select how much fuel they require and pay using PayPal or Apple Pay (http://media.jaguar.com/news/2017/02/jaguar-and-shell-launch-worlds-first-car-payment-system-just-fill-and-go-your-car-pays).

PSD2 presents a further opportunity and Slim said HPS planned to partner with FinTechs in this arena to develop new PowerCARD APIs. The company will launch a portal in September to showcase the services it can provide with the aim of going live in early 2018.

The growth in the number of payment channels will fuel more transactions but presented challenges, Slim added. “Mobile means payments need to happen in real time – that’s the customer expectation,” he said. Digital technology must also be fit for all generations, including older consumers who are increasingly tech-savvy; while operators must be prepared to cope with new spikes in demand, outside of the traditional Christmas peak, such as enrollment, Slim said.

Retailers consolidate payment platforms to better understand customers and follow their journeys

Retailers are building central payment platforms in order to understand their customers better and follow their shopping journeys, delegates at the 2017 HPS PowerCARD Users Meeting learned.

Laurent D’Amécourt, consultant at payments consultancy, ADN’Co, said his company has researched leading retailers to understand the drivers for central payment platforms and their investment plans.

According to D’Amécourt, retailers want to better monitor their businesses, enhance their security, provide full management at the point of interaction and know their customers along their shopping journey.

On the technology front, D’Amécourt said retailers wanted to enhance their PoS security in order to reduce fraud; since they are liable; ensure PCI compliance and to detect and reduce fraud in real time.

From a marketing perspective, retailers are keen to add new payment channels to the mix and centralise their reporting and data, D’Amécourt added. From a financial point of view, meanwhile, central payment platforms help reduce PoS and processing costs and help to build trust, D’Amécourt said.

Arnaud Crouzet, secretary general at Nexo, the organization set up to drive global card payment standardization and protocols, highlighted the retailers which are launching new payments platforms compliant with Nexo standards.

They include Auchan, which has introduced a pan-European payment solution based on Nexo protocols. Crouzet said there was now demand from Auchan in China and Africa too.

Carrefour has deployed with Nexo standards in Spain and France and is targeting Belgium and Total is live in France, Belgium and Germany.

Based on ISO2022, the Nexo Retailer Protocol, interfaces between the retail PoS system and card payment application; Nexo Fast enables a uniform transaction user experience at the terminal across all payment networks ie it adapts to the user’s card; while the Nexo Acquirer Protocol addresses the interface between an acceptor and an acquirer.

Callum Gibson at IT consulting company DXC Technology, formerly HPE, showcased his firm’s work with a global multi-national retailer, which has invested in a central payment platform. A publicly-listed company, the retailer operates in 50+ countries with 26,000 merchants and posts €5bn payment card transactions on an annualized basis.

According to Gibson, the retailer had six legacy mainframes in operation, multiple operating and reporting models and it lacked commercial and customer insight.

Gibson said his client had a mission to build centralized payment platform but brand consistency was also important.

“We have to reinvent the business model going forward and be able to implement global business rules, including a retail help desk,” said Gibson. The platform was rolled out in the first retail territory in the first half of 2016 and will be introduced to multiple territories in the first half of 2017 with completion in the second half of this year.

According to Gibson, the solution has enabled an opportunity to introduce dynamic pricing across all geographies, several times a day.

Crucially, it has also driven better customer insight for the retailer. “Understanding their customer base and how they move through their outlets is critical,” said Gibson.

Instant payments look to reshape customer experience

Instant payments are the industry’s next frontier and provide an opportunity for banks to reshape the customer experience, according to David Bannister, principal analyst at Ovum. Presenting at the HPS PowerCARD Users Meeting, Bannister tracked the development of instant payments, which have been live in the UK market since 2008, and the volume growth of BACS and CHAPS payments during that time; plus new peer to peer services such as Pingit, Barclays’ mobile payment service that allows users to send and receive money using a mobile number.

Instant payments are a clear focus area for corporate SME banking functions, Bannister said. However, they are part of the digitization process and need to be looked at in the round. “It’s all about moving from the old BACS schemes to real time payments,” he said.

Archie Hesse, chief executive office at GhiPSS, a subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana, presented the company’s Instant Pay service and user benefits.

“Instant Pay is one of two key ways [the other being mobile] of moving from a cash-economy to a cash-lite one,” Hesse said.

Hesse said Instant Pay was “fighting against cash”, which is expensive to process compared with electronic payments. Instant Pay – unlike cash – also enables online transactions, he added.

According to Hesse, an GhiPSS Instant Pay transaction takes between one to two minutes to complete and it is integrated within 18 of the 35 banks in Ghana, which account for 80% of the market in Ghana – 14th among the top 20 fastest emerging economies (The Economist).

The main users are B2B, P2P, B2P and P2B customers, Hesse told delegates. The service benefits individuals because it is an easier way to settle IOUs with a reduced end to end transaction cost. Late payment fines or fees are eliminated and users are able to delay payment until the last minute, aiding convenience; plus it’s secure. The benefits for merchants include instant access to funds, enhanced cash flow, increased revenue, payment assurance and reduced fraudulent activities.

For banks, Instant Pay is a catalyst to innovate, provides a 24/7 service culture, attracts new customers, increases their float levels and delivers a reduction in the frequency of bank/branch visits.

For central banks, Instant Pay drives a reduction in the use of cash, increases the amount of money in the banking system and therefore drives better policies, said Hesse. It increases the number of bankable citizens and enhances transaction monitoring and reporting. The wider economy also benefits, Hesse claimed. Instant Pay helps drive GDP growth, results in a decrease in certain types of crime and an increase in tax receipts, provides enhanced traceability and fuels growth in the FinTech sector.

Implementation did not come without challenges, however. These included integration, cost, ROI and the fact that the switch was irreversible.

GhIPSS took two months to design and implement the project with an initial pilot in four banks. The service is now being actively promoted, Hesse said.

Technology and biometrics help payments industry tackle fraud

Anas Drihany, managing director of the Payment Centre for Africa, a subsidiary of the Popular Bank of Morocco, and Philippe Vinci, managing director at Vinci Advisors, showed how new anti-fraud systems and biometric technologies can help in the fight against fraud.

Drihany said fraud increased by 21% between 2014 and 2015 and fraudulent activity, which is now well planned rather than opportunistic, has migrated from Morocco to West Africa. Drihany presented the PCA’s new anti-fraud system, which provided centralised management of fraud and was built using the expertise of digital natives. The system is based on an analytical model, which monitors behaviour and fraud movement. It scores transactions against a model and will raise suspicions if behaviour deviates too far from the model. As a result, PCA has moved from a reactive to proactive approach to fraud and reduced the cost of operations management by 30%, said Drihany. Four fifths of customers have continued to use their cards over a period of five days following a disaster, Drihany said.

Vinci presented the case for biometric technologies as a logical replacement to passwords. “We all hate passwords – they are things of the past and not secure. They are not useful and need to be strong. A simpler and stronger authentication method is required.”

Smart devices, which incorporate finger print technology and can see, hear and touch you, provide an opportunity for online authentication, locally, said Vinci; adding that the diversity of sensors continues to grow.

Vinci highlighted Mastercard’s new selfie payment technology, which enables cardholders to verify their identity by using the fingerprint scanner on their smartphone or via facial recognition technology by taking a “selfie” photo (http://newsroom.mastercard.com/eu/press-releases/mastercard-makes-fingerprint-and-selfie-payment-technology-a-reality/); and Visa research (https://www.visaeurope.com/newsroom/news/european-consumers-ready-for-biometrics), which revealed 68% of European consumers want to use biometrics for securing payments and 84% would trust biometrics.

Vinci presented the use of voice print technology to tackle fraudsters who target call centres, which are typically weak and easy targets since they rely on caller ID or knowledge-based information, which the fraudster already knows; and they are predicated to helping the user. Using voice records and passive screening can identify previous fraudulent calls, said Vinci.

Banks in the US are now integrating this technology, combining biometric voiceprint and phone print technology, Vinci reported. HSBC has also incorporated voice technology for telephone banking https://www.hsbc.co.uk/1/2/voice-id.

In South Africa, meanwhile, the South Africa Social Security Association, has introduced proof of life verification, using voice activation, for beneficiaries to access their social grants.

Vinci suggested such developments looked set to win further traction since the boom of mobile and sensory technologies in devices is unstoppable. Mobile payments are also unstoppable, he said. Biometrics offer increased security and are supported by more standards, such as FIDO, he added. They also improve the customer experience and provide personalisation by offering user choice.

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Dealing with the loneliness crisis with assistive technology

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Dealing with the loneliness crisis with assistive technology 1

By Karen Dolva, CEO and Co-Founder of NoIsolation

Humans are social beings, and for most children, school will be their most important social arena. Unfortunately, however, many children and adolescents with long-term illnesses are unable to attend school for extended periods, due to treatment plans, ill health or more recently due to the risk of infection. Research has shown that long-stints of school absence for children and adolescents with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) and cancer can range from months to years.

These prolonged periods of absence, which often lead to limited interactions with other children and adolescents, can result in children completely losing their social network, leaving them feeling cut off, lonely and isolated, all as a result of something that is completely out of their control. What kind of consequences can this type of social isolation have for children and young adults?

In a recent in-depth investigation into the impact of COVID-19 on the emotional and educational development of British school-aged children, No Isolation partnered with independent researcher, Henry Peck, to look into the impact of COVID-19 on school aged children, to shed further light on the consequences of school closures, not only across the UK, but the long term effects that this can have on children and adolescents everywhere throughout the pandemic.

As a company working to abolish loneliness and isolation amongst those suffering with chronic illness, we were already aware of the effect that social isolation can have on a child’s educational development and mental health. For the investigation we collected responses from 1,005 parents and carers of 1,477 children spanning primary and secondary school.

Results of the study found that a concerning 76% of parents and carers reported that, since lockdown, they have become worried that their children are suffering from loneliness. Results also showed that parents and carers of 5-10-year-olds worry that their children are lonely often or all of the time, whilst parents and carers of 11-16-year-olds are concerned that their children are lonely at least some of the time. This is likely due to the fact that older children have greater access to social technologies, while younger children often rely on non-verbal forms of communication such as facial expression, physical contact, and through play, all of which is difficult to recreate whilst away from the school setting.

At No Isolation we are committed to creating solutions that will help children stay connected to their friends and their education, regardless of circumstance. We’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact that loneliness can have on a child, and know that children that can’t attend school don’t just miss out on learning, they miss out on friendships too. Losing this contact during the early years developmental stages can be devastating, leading to anxiousness and an increase in feelings of isolation. This report sheds light on the hundreds of thousands of young people that may not be able to rejoin their friends in school, and it is vital that they don’t fall through the cracks. We plan to continue researching the impact of this unprecedented pandemic and driving the conversation around how we, as a nation, can ensure the mental wellbeing and educational development of those most affected.

Loneliness has been found to have serious implications for both physical and mental health. People suffering from loneliness are 32% more likely to have a stroke and are 26% more at risk of early mortality. From No Isolation’s own research into the impact of school absence due to long-term illness, we have found that  children are particularly vulnerable to loneliness if they cannot attend school.

Researchers, Perlman and Peplau, define loneliness as a negative feeling, stating that a lonely person is experiencing a discrepancy between desired and actual social contact. Being socially isolated is not synonymous with being lonely, but there will often be a correlation between social isolation and loneliness. Though much empirical research on adults and adolescents shows a link between loneliness and depression, many studies have found that friendship-related loneliness is more explanatory for depressive symptoms among adolescents than parent-related loneliness. One possible explanation is that friends are the preferred source of social support during adolescence.

With that in mind, we should be both sad and alarmed by the high numbers of young people unable to attend school, and more so by the fact that we do not really know who they are or exactly why they cannot go to school. Research has shown that social isolation and loneliness often correlate with mental disorders, including depressive disorders, there are, however, options available for children and adolescents in the form of assistive technologies, enabling them to stay connected with education and their peers.

The provision of dedicated school staff, inspirational hospital schools, the use of avatars like AV1 that enable children to attend school remotely, are just a few of the ways that assistive technology and exemplary attitudes are helping children with long-term illnesses from becoming disconnected from essential social networks. There are also examples of individuals who are pushing to keep children from falling between the cracks and becoming invisible, such as Amy Dixon, who is running a petition that will do exactly that, bringing these issues to the attention of those who can make a real change. It is, and will be, thanks to these exemplary changes that more support is being offered to children that are virtually invisible across the UK at present.

However, not all children have the option to receive these kinds of provision. There are pockets of excellent practice driven on an individual and local level, but there needs to be systemic change at a policy level, to ensure everyone is supported.

Educational provision for children out of school due to illness appears to be something of a postcode lottery, with some families having to fight for 3 hours of home tuition a week, whilst others are offered 15 hours by default. This is thought to be, in part, due to the open statutory guidance which allows for flexible interpretation of government guidelines, as well as financial limitations schools and city councils face. To improve the lives and outcomes of this group of children, is to create a more accurate view and analysis. This can be done by joining up existing datasets, by asking better questions, and by building a model that predicts future numbers of children from falling outside of the system. This, in turn, will push the issue up the political agenda and drive much needed changes to statutory guidance. Most importantly, it would lead to more support for children that are seemingly invisible across the UK.

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Regulatory overlaps cause conflicts, confusion and complexity: is collaboration the answer?

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Regulatory overlaps cause conflicts, confusion and complexity: is collaboration the answer? 2

By Rob Fulcher, Head of Business – Americas, CUBE Global

Regulatory overlaps are an ongoing, perplexing and often time-consuming anomaly. They occur where multiple market regulators act disjointedly in their attempt to address a market failure, thereby imposing different regulatory requirements with contradictory or overlapping obligations. For financial institutions, this can be problematic: which regulation should take precedence? Will they face punitive action for neglecting one obligation in favour of another?

Following the global financial crisis of 2008, a swathe of new policies and acts came into force with a view to protecting the system and essentially preventing another market crash. Inevitably, this led to a host of new regulations, some of which created overlaps and inconsistencies. In turn, this leads to inefficiencies and misunderstandings as businesses endeavour to comply with all and every regulation, often finding themselves at a stand-off.

Financial institutions – especially the compliance team – are desperate for regulatory clarity. However, in many cases, it is not forthcoming. Regulatory clarity is not, it seems, high on the regulator’s agenda. A recent report by CUBE, RegTech for Regulatory Change, in association with Burnmark, explored the evolving landscape of regulatory overlaps. We now delve deeper into this topic to ask, ‘what is the solution?’

GDPR, PSD2 and MiFID II – to collect or protect data?

One notorious regulatory overlap that causes consistent headaches for financial institutions is that between GDPR and PSD2.

While GDPR gives individuals greater control over their data and restricts the freedoms of organisations to share it, PSD2 imposes data sharing requirements on financial service providers. It is up to the banks to ensure that correct policies and procedures are in place so as to comply with both pieces of legislation. This is not often an easy task considering their almost diametrically opposite aims.

The same can be said for the regulatory rules that surround both MiFID II and GDPR – two pieces of legislation filled with inherent contradictions. While the former focuses on consumer protection through transparency and retaining more information about the investor community; the latter is concerned with data protection and limiting the access to investor data if so desired by the owner of the data and giving investors the right to be forgotten.

Data privacy and AML – data sharing can only go so far

Data is a commodity – compared often to crude oil. For financial institutions, data is not only part of ongoing business functions, but it also holds potential for manipulation, misinformation or illicit activity. Surprisingly, the value of data has only truly been realised in recent years. In turn, we have seen a swathe of money laundering and data protection activity – leading to new and amended regulations to bolster data protections and simultaneously impose supervisory requirements to avoid money laundering. Global banks are finding it challenging to comply with one without compromising on the other.

Multinational banks often find themselves walking a tight rope between trying to meet data privacy requirements and simultaneously meeting those surrounding anti-money laundering (AML). For example, banks in the US are forbidden from sharing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) with foreign branch counterparts due to disclosure restrictions, thereby making it difficult to implement a group-wide compliance program.Regulatory overlaps cause conflicts, confusion and complexity: is collaboration the answer? 3

Regulatory overlap in the US

The US has a long-established, complicated and often fragmented regulatory structure. Significant and costly overlaps exist across the board, especially between the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve System’s data collection activities, along with its supervision and examination activities. Consumer protection is conducted by six US regulators, which naturally results in overlaps, duplication and confusion.

 

Similarly, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and state securities regulators oversee securities and derivatives markets, leading to similar concerns of overlaps and fragmentation. Swaps and security-based swap products face the supervision of SEC and CFTC and market participants have made it known that this leads to significant market and operational challenges.

The answer

Regulatory overlap is not new – nor is there a clear solution. We have occasionally heard tales of compliance team members writing to regulators to request clarification, often to no avail. In the meantime, financial institutions must take steps to implement all relevant regulations where they can and mitigate risks where they are not able.

Regulatory technology (RegTech), especially automated change management platforms such as CUBE, highlight overlaps and alert compliance teams where issues or inconsistencies arise. For now, this is the most effective means of managing unclear regulations.

Ultimately, the answer lies with financial regulators themselves. While uncertainty exists, regulators must issue guidance and expectations in order to standardise approaches across the industry. The ideal outcome is undoubtedly founded in collaboration: regulators across sectors, industry and jurisdictions should collaborate to ensure that legislative changes are consistent and do not tread on the toes of the other. With the emergence of new technology – and related new regulation – many regulators are calling for a joined-up approach and looking to work together in their supervisory goals. Perhaps collaborative, unambiguous financial regulators aren’t so far away after all.

Author Bio:

Rob has 20 years’ experience in financial services sales and management. Following his early sales career at Euler Hermes, a global credit insurance business, Rob went on to establish a 15-year career in GRC. Initially working in London at Complinet, a compliance and risk business, Rob subsequently relocated to New York. In 2010, Complinet was acquired by Thomson Reuters and Rob played a pivotal role in growing GRC revenues, especially relating to regulatory change management. As Head of Sales Americas for CUBE Global, Rob re-built the sales team and consistently out-performed all other regions.

 

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Christmas isn’t cancelled; Santa now does click & collect

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Christmas isn’t cancelled; Santa now does click & collect 4

Despite fears that Christmas will be cancelled this year, new data from ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW) finds that, with local lockdowns and social distancing measures in place across the UK, the Festive shopping season is starting earlier this year.

Based on analysis on hundreds of millions of eCommerce transactions around the globe, ACI’s latest eCommerce tracker predicts we will see a 27% increase in online shopping transactions. Along with a whopping 40% increase in click and collect purchases as consumers remain socially distant and local lockdowns continue.

Indeed, consumers acting as Santa’s little helpers have begun purchasing presents online even earlier than before to keep the Christmas dream alive. Concerns around limited product availability and delivery delays have seen online transactions increase by 21% in the last four weeks, when compared to the same period last year.

Amanda Mickleburgh, Director of Merchant Fraud Product at ACI Worldwide commented, “While Black Friday has typically been the starting line for the festive period, this year Prime Day sounds the klaxon. There are myriad reasons for this. With everyone encouraged to social distance and many areas of the UK now under even tighter local lockdowns, there’s more time than ever to browse online for presents. Added to this, many remember the severe delays in receiving purchases at the start of lockdown, and will be looking to avoid missing presents under the Christmas tree.

“Merchants should look to expand their same day shipping capabilities and provide free returns or extend T&Cs, to capitalise on this trend. Far from seeing physical stores as a lost cause, they should take advantage of the increase in demand for click and collect. And turn their stores into valuable real estate by expanding their click and collect capabilities.

However, there is a dark side to the holiday season kicking off earlier – fraud continues to increase as criminals take advantage of click and collect options and consumers start to buy higher-value items like the latest electronics. ACI’s analysis found that the value of attempted fraud increased from $7 to $9 per consumer this September compared to 2019.

Amanda Mickleburgh continued, “While click and collect is a major draw for consumers, merchants need to increase their fraud protection measures for this channel. As more merchants continue to offer this option to customers, there are greater opportunities for fraudsters to create a nightmare before Christmas.”

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