December 8, 2022

Interswitch, Providus Bank Emphasize Security in Payments Ecosystem, Launch Tokenization Solution

As part of efforts to foster a safer, more inclusive payments ecosystem, Interswitch, Africa’s leading
integrated payments and digital commerce company, in collaboration with Providus Bank, has
emphasized the need for heightened focus on security in the payments ecosystem.
This submission was made at the official unveiling of the tokenization solution jointly developed by
Interswitch, Providus Bank, Mastercard, and Thales, where industry experts also gathered to discuss
current and future trends in the payments space.
One of the key trends highlighted at the event was the demand for more convenient, accessible, and
secure means of conducting everyday financial transactions by consumers, a trend which had prompted
the introduction of the tokenization solution, with the aim of encouraging more Nigerians to accept
cashless transactions.
In his opening remarks, Jonah Adams, Managing Director, Digital Infrastructure and Managed Services,
Interswitch Group, explained that the collaboration that birthed the tokenization was crucial, as it
opened up realms of possibilities in the payments ecosystem, not only within Nigeria but in Africa as a
whole.
He noted that the tokenization solution was a first-of-its-kind solution in West Africa and the sub-
Saharan region, with everyday transactions happening at the speed of thought, and posited that it
would transform the payment space and merchant acquiring space.
According to him, tokenization as a solution was designed to enable more personalized, speedy, secure
and convenient payment interactions. Tokenization enables consumers' 16-digit Permanent Account
Numbers (PAN) to be replaced with unique identifiers to keep fraudsters from accessing the personal
details of end users. Tokenization is at the heart of connected devices and will allow users to carry out
financial transactions using their electronic devices or payment cards knowing that such transactions are
safe and secure.
Speaking during the panel session on the need for timely solutions such as tokenization, Babatunde
Okufi, Group Head, Business Development, Interswitch Purepay, also emphasized the need for fintechs
and financial institutions to design more innovative and intuitive solutions that keep the funds and data
of end users safe.
In his words, "The emergence of COVID-19 shifted consumer behaviour. And as more consumers get on
the digital payments train, there will equally be more fraud cases. Fraudsters innovate, and players in
the payments space should also innovate to ensure that they gain higher grounds on these cyber
attackers."
Okufi noted that to curb the prevailing cases of e-fraud, rules have been instituted. These rules include
the introduction of transaction limitations, leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI), and effective fund
transaction tracking between sender and receiver.

Frank Atat, Divisional Head, eBusiness, Providus Bank, who was also a panelist, proffered that
partnerships between key stakeholders remain crucial in helping to improve payment convenience and
reduce cyber threats through the deployment of cyber tools.
Atat noted that with more stringent safety measures, consumers would increasingly adopt digital
payment methods , adding that many Nigerians were unaware of the benefits of digital payments owing
to the lack of widespread awareness. However, to address this challenge, he suggested collaboration
between players in the ecosystem.
Echoing Atat's sentiments was Peter Ehizogie, Regional Manager, Product Sales-Cyber & Intelligence
Solutions (West Africa), Mastercard, who said that consumers would naturally gravitate towards digital
payments once they are able to trust payment platforms with their funds.
"Collaborations between players in the payments space will aid the widespread adoption of digital
payment, and this can only be achieved when we have gained the trust of these consumers," Ehizogie
said.

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