Are Point of Sale systems safe?

By Staff Writer

South African consumers now have a host of payment options to simplify their spending habits such as SnapScan, Zapper, and FlickPay. Even though these applications help both the consumer, and the business who uses them, there are not many applications dedicated to just helping the business out.

Now financial service providers are focusing on small and medium size business (SME) sectors. iKhokha is a payment device targeted  at SME’s which, according to iKhokha, is set to reduce the pricing costs involved with payment systems.

iKhokha’s Edge device is a compact mobile credit card machine which, when plugged into a smartphone, enables debit and credit payments from customers.

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How safe is it?

However, with new technology emerging all the time, customers might worry about the safety aspects associated with different payment systems.

Aldo Laubscher, the head of Payment Acceptance, Barclays Africa Retail Banking said that customers should never share their PIN with the merchant and that pins should be kept confidential at all times, regardless of what payment system they are using.

“Provided they have been approved by the banks and the card associations then the product should be safe to use. If you have any suspicions please check with the acquiring bank that they have approved the device for card transactions,” said Alan Scouler the CEO FNB Merchant Services.

However, Laubscher said that the iKkhokha device has been built in such a way that no card information is ever shared between the device and the phone.

“The phone is just the means to connect to the transaction system, and all data that passes through the smartphone is encrypted and not available to the app,” said Laubscher.

The iKhokha device’s PIN encryption conforms to Triple DES (3DES/TDES) requirements as mandated by the Payment associations.

Which means that these devices have achieved the highest level of International accreditation with the Payments Council International body meaning it is as secure as a traditional credit card machine.  

It is as safe as a normal POS device used in store environments.

Other devices

There are other payment devices such as Absa’s Payment Pebble and Payment Pebble Handset.

The device turns most smartphones or tablets into a mobile card machine accepting payments anywhere, anytime enabling the likes of SMMEs to increase sales, explained Absa.

Laubscher said that the Absa Payment Pebble handset device has similar certifications to the iKhokha device, but a much more user friendly form factor and PIN entry method.
 
While the Payment Pebble is very successful and works with 95% of all smartphones, an evolution was needed to escape the need for a separate costly phone and other expenses such as data plans.

The request for a purpose-built Handset for the Payment Pebble was born. The handset was developed and after usability tests with merchants in December 2014, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, said Absa.

The Payment Pebble Handset will officially be launched in South Africa in early August 2015.  

With the Handset, users no longer have to own an expensive smartphone to make use of the payment collection solution.
What the Kindle did for reading, the Absa Payment Pebble Handset will soon be doing for cashless payments, said Absa.
 

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