“Wearable payment is emerging as a secure method for consumers to purchase products or services by using advanced technology integrated in their wearable devices” By, Mr. Sujay Vasudevan, Vice President, Cyber and Intelligence Solutions, South Asia, Mastercard

  1. WMastercard South Asia Vice President Cyber and Intelligence Solutions Sujay Vasudevanhat are the top 2-3 initiatives undertaken by Mastercard in India in the past 2-3 years?

Mastercard has been actively working towards driving acceptance for digital payments in India. The company is enabling ease of payments for merchants and payment aggregators to help them grow their businesses efficiently. They have committed to bring one billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. To support small and medium businesses during the challenging times of the pandemic Mastercard committed Rs 250 crores ($33 million) to help reboot Indian SMEs and enable business recovery during COVID-19.

To drive digital payments acceptance and adoption of digital payments, Mastercard launched a nationwide initiative ‘Team Cashless India’, which is in partnership with cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Under this campaign, Mastercard has been going to different tier 2&3 cities to get consumers and merchants at the forefront of the digital payments dialogue. The campaign encourages all Indians to nominate one or more merchants who currently do not accept digital payments. Mastercard will work together with Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), acquirer banks and fintech companies to support nominated merchants to deploy digital payments acceptance infrastructure. Mastercard has visited 10 cities under this campaign and has reached out to more than 50000 merchants.

Mastercard has also been working towards ensuring safe digital payments transactions. In the year 2019, Mastercard presented a tokenization platform with Cardsmobile, powered by the Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES). Mastercard’s tokenization platform MDES is on-behalf-of service for issuers based on cutting-edge innovative technology and provides end-to-end tokenization of card credentials. It helps issuer banks to provide a secure way of making payment using their mobile phones for various use cases such as NFC contactless payments, QR Payments and Online/In-app payments. Tokenization provides high security and trust to consumers, as the original card data is not shared with any online merchant. Mastercard has recently partnered with SBI card pay, for Mastercard SBI Card cardholder to make contactless payments using his/her credit card at Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled point of sale terminals with just one tap on their mobile, without having used any physical credit card.

Mastercard also designed, Safety Net to leverage its global network to identify unusual behavior and potential attacks – often before the bank, processor, or merchant is even aware. Through continuous enhancement and innovation, Safety Net prevented more than US$ 5 billion in fraudulent transactions globally between Jan – Oct 2018. Mastercard enabled the rollout of 3DS2.0, a data-rich protocol that will enable banks to authenticate about 95% of transactions without having to ask the cardholder to do anything.

  1. What are the top digital payments trends that you see in 2021?
  • COVID-19 has been a great catalyst to drive digital and contactless payments around the world. Smaller cities, where the use of cash is massive have also witnessed awareness and adoption of contactless payments. The benefits of paying with a simple tap will go far beyond maintaining social distancing, as we hope to see a greater willingness of citizens to use cashless payment methods in other settings. According to a recent survey by Mastercard, around 74% of the respondents, a high number, said that they will continue to make purchases digitally or via contactless mode in the coming times.
  • Wearable payment is emerging as a secure method for consumers to purchase products or services by using advanced technology integrated in their wearable devices. The tap-and-go payment method provide retailers and vendors with more secure and error-free payment method. According to a report by Allied Market Research, wearable payments market is anticipated to grow $1.37 Trillion by 2027 at 21.7% CAGR. In 2020, Mastercard in partnership with SBI and Titan launched India’s first contactless watch.
  • Due to the restriction on movement during the lockdown, people heavily relied on e-commerce for the purchase of groceries, health products and other essentials. Even now as the lockdown has eased, consumers prefer to shop online as they see the advantage of several choice, access to remote commerce and digital payments.
  • Payments via QR code will continue to prove its flexibility, especially in emerging markets, primarily because they are easy to use and inexpensive to implement. This type of payment is expected to be easier to use as it only requires an application that allows it to be used in one establishment.
  1. What are the top concerns that consumers have while making digital payments?

The pandemic and lockdown have given cyber criminals new avenues to exploit the elevated anxiety and increased traffic on the internet in a myriad of ways. They are extensively using social engineering to trick people into sharing their account or credit card details, which are then used for fraudulent transactions. Fraudsters have become savvy at illegally obtaining information online. Hackers often pose as a legitimate representative and contact credit card owners asking for sensitive information, then use the email, malware texts and instant messaging to steal personal data.

The most common types of payment fraud that are causing concern among merchants are identity theft, phishing, and account theft. Also, dubiously similar account names, UPI IDs, and SWIFT codes for emergency relief accounts are mushrooming to dupe unsuspecting victims.

With increasing number of digital fraud cases, below are some of the top concerns that consumers have while making digital payments:

  • Nearly half of Indian consumers are more worried about frauds while making digital transactions amid the coronavirus crisis, shows a study by YouGov and ACI Worldwide. About 28 per cent of consumers are now exercising more caution while making payments using various digital modes, according to a study conducted.
  • Almost half of Indian consumers (47 per cent) are more concerned about digital payments fraud now than when the novel coronavirus first emerged, the study said.
  • Vulnerability to fraud remains the biggest consumer concern when it comes to digital transactions (54 per cent), followed by risk of failed transactions (42 per cent).
  1. With the usage of digital payments, payment frauds have increased. How is Mastercard making digital payments safe and secure for consumers?

For nearly 50 years Mastercard has been safeguarding the way you pay. Mastercard has been innovating solutions driven by data and insights to increase the safety and security of electronic payments. Consumers need a safe and simple experience when making a payment, wherever they are in the world and whether they tap, click or swipe. Mastercard is investing time and money to continuously enhance the technology to detect and prevent fraud so that consumers can be confident that their money is safe.

Mastercard has a mobile-first authentication solution -Identity Check Express which helps to redefine the e-commerce journey for millions of Indian consumers by obviating the need for an OTP to authenticate consumers putting through mobile transactions. Through this solution, we are taking a big consumer pain point away. This product uses the latest technology to establish the user’s identity through multiple-factors, rather than just two-factor authentication that is the current standard.

Mastercard has made strategic investments in acquiring technologies that provide security to payments  even beyond the Mastercard network. This enable us to provide more consumer choice build a secure payments ecosystem and inspire trust in digital payments.

  • Mastercard has acquired Ethoca, to help merchants and card issuers collaborate in real-time to quickly identify and resolve fraud in digital commerce. The Ethoca network brings together more than 5,000 merchants and 4,000 financial institutions around the world
  • Mastercard acquired NuData in 2017 that uses advanced intelligence to assess patterns of behavior, detect Botnet automation and determine the reputation of devices. This allows us to detect patterns of fraudulent activity and take preventive action
  • Brighterion acquired in 2017 has brought to Mastercard Artificial Intelligence technology that we believe is truly unique. Our AI technology applies machine learning to leverage vast amounts of data on billions of consumer interactions, transactions, merchants and devices.
  1. What are the precautionary steps consumers should take to avoid cyber intruders and frauds?

Below are some to the precautionary steps that one must always follow to avoid cyber-attacks:

  • Don’t share your transaction OTP – OTP fraud is one of the common frauds to which a lot of people have lost lakhs of rupees. The main reason why many people lose money to OTP fraud is due to lack of awareness. People are still not aware of the fact that One Time Password (OTP) must not be shared with anyone. If you share OTPs sent to you by your bank, fraudsters can easily withdraw money from your bank account. OTP’s are something which must be kept secret and not shared with anyone. Often fraudsters also impersonate someone from the bank in order to trick a victim into making payments to a fraudulent account or giving them their password details. People need to understand that banks do not ask to share such sensitive information with them or their employees and in case they get such calls they need to be aware that it is a fraudulent call and report it.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi– Never do financial transactions on a public Wi-Fi. Hackers can intrude easily into a public Wi-Fi network and steal your login details. If you need to make a financial transaction when you are out, use your own mobile phone network.
  • Avoid apps that you can’t trust– Often, smartphone apps carry malware. If you are not sure of an app, don’t download it instantly. Spend a little time reading about it, going through its terms and conditions and knowing what current users say about it. Only download apps from the official app store.
  • Buy from a reputed merchant –Before making payments online, make sure your merchant is reputed and trusted. Websites of many small merchants are not secure enough to prevent data theft. If you think the merchant is not trustworthy, don’t pay online, go with cash on delivery transaction.
  • Spot phishing scams– Although some phishing scams are easy to identify, other phishing attempts can appear awfully legitimate. Exercise caution when clicking on links and opening email attachments. If the link is from someone you don’t recognize, don’t open it. It is best to type the website in your web browser rather than clicking on any link. Always look for the ‘s’ at the end of ‘https://’ on the URL. ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’ which indicates that the page is safe and encrypted.

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