As Egypt and the region embrace all forms of electronic payment methods, partnership between banks, regulators and payment technology companies will ensure trust and security in the system, says Tarek Elhousseiny, Visa’s General Manager for North & Francophone Africa.
The use of electronic payments is on the rise in Egypt as many other places all over the world.
As more money flows into, and around the region, more and more affluent, savvy and mobile Egyptians are reducing their reliance on paper-based money and turning to digital currency and electronic payments.
These converging ways to pay and be paid are presenting both opportunity and risk to not only payment companies, but also to consumers, merchants, governments and the financial institutions offering different payment options.
The electronic payments industry is unlocking potentially huge new market segments for financial institutions of all sizes to service, because technology is creating new ways to move money and bring secure financial services to more people.
So, electronic payment networks like VisaNet and the payment products that connect to it are increasingly becoming delivery systems for financial inclusion for citizens without traditional banking services.
Governments are recognizing the benefits of electronic payments and seeing opportunity in partnerships with companies like Visa.
The ratings agency Moody’s between 2003-2008, equating to 4.9 million new jobs and an average 0.5 percent to GDP.
The good news is that fraud rates are at a near historic low, despite the rise in payment volumes.
Fraud rates within the Visa system are at the lowest they have ever been, at just over three cents for every $100 transacted in our Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
In Egypt, fraud rates are on the low end, compared to the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
As people and banks are conducting more business with electronic payments and less with cash, partnership has never been more important if we are to not only respond to threats, but get out ahead of them.
And in our data-driven societies, information about people might be as valuable, if not more so, than thecurrency they possess.
So what do we need to do collectively to stay ahead of the issues and cope with emerging threats?
At the highest level, we need collaboration and education.
It starts with consumers, who need to understand that the first line of defense is keeping their personal information safe at all times, becoming more attuned to scams like phishing, and understanding how to monitor for unusual activity in their accounts and report it.
Financial institutions, in partnership with companies like Visa, have a responsibility not only to help with this consumer education, but also to put in multi-layered approaches to security that back up consumer vigilance with tools and services.
And regulators must help ensure that all these groups, and more, are all working together to ensure greater trust in the system.
Payments companies like Visa sit in the center of all of this.
VisaNet, our network, is capable of processing and monitoring 24,000 transactions a second and identifying in real-time any that look out of the ordinary.
Each year it securely processes 76 billion transactions in over 175 currencies – that’s more than most of the other networks combined.
In 2010, this approach identified US$1.5 billion in potential fraud globally using Visa Advanced Authorization alone.
Improved security measures offer consumers greater peace of mind and ultimately boost their trust in the whole system.
In 2011, platforms such as Verified by Visa and Visa-led workshops helped merchants and issuers in Egypt comply with the guidelines and improve security.
estimates that electronic payments added US$1.1 trillion to the global economy.