Experts hinge future of payment on identity, cyber security

Vibrant digital identity and cyber security backbones have been identified as critical factors to drive the emerging payment technology economy in Nigeria, experts have said.

This was the summation of discussions by stakeholders in Nigeria’s finance and identity sectors, at the just concluded Future of Payment Conference held in Lagos.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Fear and Fraud: Juggling Identity, Consent and Security in the Age of Instant Payment’, Co-founder/CEO, VerifyMe Nigeria, Esigie Aguele, said building a sustainable trust-based economy powered by a virile digital identity infrastructure will accelerate gains from the shift towards cashless and contactless payment options.

He said: “What we are seeing increasingly in the identity space is that having robust identity protocols not only enable, but also secure payment. For instance, Amazon, the global e-commerce giant, now requests for the National Identity Number (NIN) before importing goods to customers in Nigeria. So, they are using identity to process payments and we are expecting to see trends like facial recognition increasingly play a leading role in the new era of PayTech.

“The ecosystem is also expanding beyond individual identity to device identity verification. The whole concept of SIM swap is one of the areas that cause online fraud and big loss to FinTech and telcos across industry. VerifyMe is going to be at the critical layer of supporting FinTech companies to minimize fraud across PayTech transactions as well as minimize leakages from exposing data to people who shouldn’t have access to it.”

Director, Account Management, West Africa, MasterCard, Stanley Jacob, stressed the need for increased attention to digital identity given the accelerated shift from physical and traditional payment systems to contactless pay technologies.

According to him, “Insights from MasterCard’s New Payment Index Survey show a growing acceptance of the new payment platforms whether they be biometric, contactless, QR or virtual currency. Seven out of every 10 respondents said they are ready and happy to use contactless payment platforms; 73 per cent are willing to use digital wallets by 2022 and; between 2020 and 2021, about 1 billion additional MasterCard transactions were processed through contactless platforms.

“These indices point towards the proliferation of PayTech. Therefore, there needs to be a corresponding infrastructure to harness this opportunity and preserve the integrity of the transactions. This is where digital identity and cybersecurity will come into play.”

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