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Smart chips to curb card fraud

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 –Kenyan start-up Paysure has launched a web application that facilitates the usage of Kenswitch cards for payments over the internet.

In partnership with Kenswitch and Chase bank, Paysure offers an online payments platform that also allows merchants who do not have websites to conduct transactions.

“Merchants will be given access to the Paysure merchant portal and within this they will be able to enter the recipients email, amount and nature of the payment request. Once the details are filled and email is sent to the recipient with a link that allows them to make a payment,” Paysure Director Peter Waa explained.

A unique feature of the Paysure product is the automated settlement process that is provided by Chase Bank that allows for beneficiary funds to be credited directly to their bank accounts in one or two days.

Meanwhile Kenswitch and the Kenya Bankers Association are in discussions to roll out smart chip cards by 2014.

Figures surrounding fraud cases in the banking sector have been estimated at Sh3 billion with most involving staff.

“In terms of card scheming we see a lot of it in the coastal region where we have a lot of people coming from abroad, carrying out these kind of transactions,” Kenswitch Managing Director George Wainaina said.

He adds that the main challenge will be finding a card vendor to produce the smart chip cards locally for efficiency purposes.

“The challenges that we are facing in terms of rolling out a chip card is the capacity; having someone who can produce the cards. The closest we have is in Egypt, South Africa or India. We’re looking to bring that infrastructure here,” he said.

Kenswitch has already began a pilot program with Chase Bank that recently launched a pre-paid chip card, which if successful Wainaina said will be extended to the 12 million other cards in the market, adding that several ATMs are already chip compliant.

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Unlike the commonly used cards with magnetic strips, chip-based cards are not swiped; instead users insert the cards into a slot then enter a PIN code to finalize a transaction.

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