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Technology is global collaborative effort, says ValuCard boss

AS stakeholders in the card payment industry continue to brainstorm and explore ways to check the growing incidence of fraud on the platform, the managing director of ValuCard Nigeria Plc, Kyari Bukar, has advised Nigerian payment card holders to be cautious about the use of their cards for internet transactions as this creates exposure to fraudsters.

Bukar who gave the advise in Lagos pointed out that one thing prevalent in Nigeria is where people go online to make purchases with their old magnetic stripe cards and are asked to enter their PIN, which is one and the same as their ATM PIN. He said:

“Now the argument is that there is a large deal of advertisements and press sensitization of the customers not to share their PINs even with their loved ones. So if somebody tells me not to share my PIN with anybody and now I am ready to go online to buy an air ticket or a book and that same person is telling me to enter my ATM PIN which I am avoiding to share with my loved ones but I am now about to share with almost 1.5 billion people that are on the internet. Does that make any sense?”

He said that such scenario creates opportunity for hackers to steal cardholders’ PINs as well as other card details, and stressed that with Visa/VPAY cards in Nigeria, the problem has been addressed. “If you take your Visa/VPAY card and you flip on the other side, there is a three digit code called Card Verification Value (CVV). The CVV three digit code is unique to your card. It shows that you are holding that card, somebody cannot use your card details except he has your card physically.

In addition, we have enabled Nigerian Visa/VPAY cardholders to have a six digit Internet PIN (iPIN). This six digit iPIN is the pin you require for online transactions on our 3D VbV web merchants. For VPay or any Visa card issued by Nigerian banks, the initial point of registration is any ATM where Visa cards are accepted. The cardholder is expected to enroll by requesting an iPIN from the ATM. The iPIN is usable only for the VbV programme while the cardholder’s regular PIN would still be in place for purchases made at PoS devices,” he added.|

Bukar explained that VbV is a secure e-commerce initiative developed by Visa, which is focused on increasing e-commerce transactions, promoting consumer confidence and protection, while increasing member and merchant profitability. He added that the Internet has created new online shopping convenience for Visa cardholders and merchants as e-commerce purchase volume continues to increase and still maintains a significant growth potential over the next five to ten years.

On the major benefits of Verified by Visa (VbV), he listed increased consumer confidence when purchasing on the internet, improved value to merchants by providing the opportunity to increase sales and decrease disputed transactions, increased card acceptance through better merchant confidence in accepting online transactions, reduced cardholder disputes, exception handling, retrievals, chargebacks, re-presentments, write-offs, associated handling costs, control over card use for online purchases and improved security when card is used in an online transaction.

Technology platform
Dismissing claims by some card schemes as being home grown and of African content, the ValuCard boss said, “technology is a global collaborative effort, it is only a commodity and if you in the final analysis develop or bring to market products or technology platform that have behind it decades of processes, rules and regulations that govern those processes, say Visa for instance, you would have better value proposition than somebody that has embarked on just a technology piece without proper understanding of the card business. This provides understanding on why the Central Bank of Nigeria is pushing for the ‘truly’ EMV migration for banks. Indeed some banks are actually doing wholesale replacement of their card products because the fraud level is becoming unbearable.”

On the global scale, Bukar said, Visa and MasterCards as a global card product company had been issuing magnetic stripe cards for close to fifty years, adding that although they have billions of card products, majority of them are magnetic stripe, the total fraud level in the Visa system is significantly lower than fraud loss percentage in Nigeria.


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