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Combating financial payment fraud using EFT

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Security features like the hologram, PIN and magnetic strip have all evolved over the course of 30 years to make transacting in the real world safer, but credit card security has not progressed sufficiently for secure online purchasing, writes THOMAS PAYS, CEO and co-founder of i-Pay.

It is strange to think that one of the most used methods of transacting online – through a credit card – is actually not designed for the purpose. Security features such as the hologram, PIN and magnetic strip have all evolved over the course of 30 years to make transacting in the real world safer, but credit card security has not progressed sufficiently for secure online purchasing.

A solution to combatting fraud more successfully in the payment industry is at hand: EFT (electronic funds transfer). From day one, EFT was created to assist with the secure electronic transfer of funds – it is even in the name.

The fact that the i-Pay gateway allows payment using the banks’ own security measures, permits it to be extremely safe, and crucially, fraud free. Since the gateway’s launch in 2013, not a single transaction has been fraudulent, and this from a company who is looking to process R100 million worth of transactions during December 2016 alone.

Combatting fraud

Apart from combating credit card fraud by offering an alternative payment method, the i-Pay gateway offers companies further ways to combat other types of scams. To illustrate the point:

  • Fraudsters who illegally photoshopped their banking details onto ratepayers’ bills. Unsuspectingly, money was paid into the fraudsters’ account, leaving both the municipality and the ratepayers out of pocket.
  • One of the largest property management companies in South Africa which collected rent on behalf of clients. The company was hit by fraudsters who sent out false invoices to clients, notifying them to pay in advance since the company’s banking details have changed, of course with the false details included. Before the fraud was picked up on, millions of rands were already deposited in the wrong bank account, leading to the collapse of the company.

Not your regular EFT

With an EFT system such i-Pay in place, this type of fraud can be eliminated, since the beneficiary of the payment has a specific bank account connected to the i-Pay gateway. The payment link sent to clients can only be generated through i-Pay itself, and EFT payments can only proceed through the i-Pay linked account of the business. Customers can pay merchants by following an i-Pay link sent via email, SMS or QR code, with payment taking place via the costumer’s smartphone or desktop browser.

Being a newer entry to the marketplace, it is understandable that customers might have questions regarding the security of the i-Pay system. Pays is quick to point out that the company meets all the international standards when it comes to payment security and encryption standards. Included here is the essential Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification, a global standard that banks and companies such as PayPal adheres to. i-Pay is also working closely with the four major banks in South Africa to establish a regulated environment around EFT payments.

The cost of fraud?

While there are costs involved for companies that would like to receive money through the i-Pay gateway, the transaction fees are far less than via credit card, with no hidden payments to banks. So as with any good business, the benefits of using the gateway far outweighs the cost.

Apart from saving on salaries since i-Pay automatically takes care of reconciliation, the important fact to remember is nothing related to fraud will ever happen to your company through the i-Pay gateway. What is that type of peace of mind actually worth? Indeed, with hundreds of customers already signed up to i-Pay, subjected to zero fraud as far as transactions processed is concerned, the value of this payment gateway is speaking for itself.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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