17 January 2013

Nigeria: Cashless Policy - Interswitch Introduces Safetoken

Interswitch, an integrated payment and transaction processing company, has introduced Safetoken, in compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)'s policy on the mandatory tokens for some web payments in Nigeria. A safe token triggers One-Time-Passwords (OTP) when customers are performing payment transactions on the internet using their cards. Explaining how it works, Director, Payment Solutions & Value Added Services (VAS), Interswitch, Mr. Charles Ifedi, explained that the OTP is an additional level of authentication for customers when using their cards over the internet.

According to him, a token provides added security for the cardholder and protects customers against unauthorised usage of their cards on the internet. He said: "The system generates 6-8 digit OTP whenever a transaction occurs via the Interswitch Web Payment Platform, Webpay that meet some criteria set by the issuer of the card. "When a customer attempts to perform a web transaction above a set limit, say N3, 000 for airtime recharge, the customer is prompted for a One-Time-Password."

He further explained that SMS containing OTP is sent to the customer's pre-registered phone number, which is pre-registered with the bank. "The Safetoken platform supports the use of hardware tokens, software tokens, grid cards and OTP delivered via SMS or email," he said. Ifedi however, stated that to use the Safetoken service, a cardholder must have undergone a pre-registration process, which can be done at www.quickteller.com, ATMs and bank branches.

He added that UBA has implemented the Safetoken SMS and email OTP solution for its customers, while other banks that are currently implementing the hardware and SMS OTP solution for their customers to improve security of web payments include Access Bank, GTBank, First Bank, FCMB and Zenith Bank.

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