Paynet set to launch Chip and PIN cards in East Africa

Paynet Group CEO Bernard Matthewman (third from left) and Visa’s Area country manager for Sub Saharan Africa- Jabu Basopo at launch of Visa Card service in Kigali for Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR), Rwanda’s biggest bank by customer numbers. At far left is BPR CEO Herman Klaassen and Rwanda switch CEO Konde Bugingo. Paynet EMV Chip and PIN card issuing facility will serve the East Africa region.

Paynet Group has announced that its issuing facility for EMV Chip Cards should be ready for launch by November 2012, meaning that adoption of anti-fraud card technology by banks in the region is imminent.

During a meeting with bankers, Bernard Matthewman, Paynet Group CEO said the Paynet Processing Centre will be able to serve multiple banks within the region at low cost per card and additionally be able to support programs by individual banks that may opt for moving their customers to EMV Chip and PIN cards standard in phases.”

The company has already signed a deal with a partner to issue the ‘intelligent’ multi function EMV Chip cards which use sophisticated processing to identify them as genuine cards, making counterfeiting significantly more difficult and expensive.

Chip and PIN cards will replace the magnetic stripe cards which feature a black stripe on the back that have been in use in East Africa for over 20 years and have become vulnerable to fraud, which increases in value each year, thanks to card skimming and counterfeiting.

“Stakeholders in the card industry are following this development keenly. Issuers are aware of the benefits of EMV Chip and PIN cards with regard to reducing risk by countering fraud. By upgrading early we are well positioned to offer EMV Chip issuing services to banks as an alternative to them going through an expensive and resource intensive upgrade,” added Matthewman.

Paynet provides card processing services for multiple banks across East Africa including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and recently launched a Visa acquiring service with Banque Populaire du Rwanda. The current upgrade will provide Visa and MasterCard EMV Chip issuing for pre-paid, debit and credit cards as well as enhanced fraud monitoring and 3D secure services which secure issued cards for internet use.

Global card companies – including Europay, Mastercard and Visa (or EMV) – launched the EMV Chip and Pin standard as a counter to fraud and have urged issuers, particularly banks, to adopt it to stem fraud.

Jabu Basopo, VISA country manager for Southern and East Africa said Visa continues to be a leader in the industry by introducing best practices for security in electronic payment services and is using EMV chip technology to combat counterfeit fraud around the world.

“We are pleased to roll it out in the East African region with our banking partners. We also look beyond our own system to help ensure secure commerce for all participants in the payments chain by educating merchants, financial institutions and consumers about how to protect themselves from the threat of fraud,” said Basopo.

Along with the launch of the Chip and PIN facility, Mr Matthewman said the upgrade by Paynet will also be the last step to achieving a global certification for financial data security called Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)