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Authorization Management is the Key to Smooth But Secure Payments

On our side of the battle, payments professionals face a daily challenge; how to balance easy access to payments and smooth transactions, with robust fraud defenses?

It’s no secret that with the new, fast and open payments ecosystem, a new set of fraud threats is materialising. Financial institutions and intermediaries are faced with an unprecedented range of technologies and form factors, thanks to the digital transformation of commerce. The system is increasingly fragmented, and to top it off, now we have to combat fraud in real-time. 

It’s unsurprising that Card Not Present fraud is on the rise; overall transaction volumes of CNP are increasing as we adopt multiple payments services including mobile payments, digital wallets, social payments and more. That’s not even including the potential explosion in micro-payments from connected devices as the Internet of Things becomes an everyday reality.

Fraud prevention is like an arms-race – it might seem like this diversification of payments technology just means more potential avenues for fraudsters’ attacks. But at the same time they have been developing phishing, malware and bots, the payments industry has been investing in machine learning and AI, encryption and tokenisation, Multi-Factor and Knowledge Based Authentication.

Resilience in Real-Time

Now the next big challenge is developing robust security for immediate payments. Real-time payments require real-time fraud prevention. This begins pre-payment, with payments providers investing in message encryption, digital certificates, and data capture. In its first incarnation, immediate payments will be initiated by consumers and corporates. Merchants will join the immediate payments revolution later than their ecosystem partners. In a real-time world, it’s not enough to focus fraud prevention on just the payments experience. Fraud prevention has to be considered end-to-end in the same way as customer experience. Strong authentication will be a major factor in achieving a secure transaction—within an excellent customer experience. 

Finding the friction sweet spot

In the new payments ecosystem, strong authentication will no longer be needed for each transaction. If it is performed once, then payments to known receivers can flow freely. What will be key is authentication and authorisation management through monitoring relevant data. The implementation of global account numbers, predictive analytics, actionable alerting rules, and behavioural profiling will mean that authentication and authorisation can be streamlined to reduce unnecessary, repetitive checks. This will have positive impacts for merchants and their abandoned basket rates – a smoother purchasing process reduces customer drop-off. 

The complication lies in balancing all the ways that customers want to pay…with security. Payments are open, with this openness being driven by consumer demand and regulatorsPSD2 aims to drive open payments to encourage innovation in a traditionally staid industry. The mandate looks to support an open and secure payments ecosystem through its requirements for strong authentication. But PSD2’s goals for open banking will not succeed without frictionless authentication and a system of trust. The challenge for all financial institutions and intermediaries is to find just the right amount of friction for it to be smooth yetsecure. We want frictionless, but not so it feels like pickpocketing.

Find out more about how you can achieve frictionless fraud prevention with the latest eBook from our New Payments Ecosystem series: SECURE! How real-time and openness change the payment fraud ecosystem.

General Manager

Silvia Mensdorff-Pouilly is General Manager Europe Processors & Networks at ACI Worldwide