Staying safe with tap-and-go

Issue 2 2021 Security Services & Risk Management

As the world struggles through a global pandemic that has, through the manner of its transmission, severely constrained human contact, so new ways have been found to do what we usually do – but without touching strange surfaces any more than we have to. Is it then any wonder that the use of tap-and-go payments has snowballed? After all, this is a payment method that is marketed as contactless, and can be applied not only to cards, but also many wearable devices.

At the same time, perhaps the only thing faster than a lockdown order is the speed at which cybercriminals latch onto new ways of parting the unsuspecting with their cash and data. Therefore, when it comes to tap-and-go functionality, security is of paramount importance. Moreover, security does not fall within the ambit of only one particular link in the value chain – banks, retailers and users have a part to play in safeguarding these devices and transactions.

“It is important for consumers to be educated around how to protect themselves and their data when using devices or wearables that offer tap-and-go functionality,” says Ilonka Badenhorst, managing executive at the Wireless Applications Service Providers' Association (WASPA). Her organisation is dedicated to ensuring that its members adhere to industry standards and rules which are monitored and regulated on a daily basis.

Even though enhanced tap-and-go functionality as well as billing through mobile providers can be safer and more convenient, that does not change the fact that the basic principles of security still apply. “It is the responsibility of the merchant to ensure the environment is safe for transactions to take place and make certain that the reader device is also secured. The banks’ (or in many cases now, mobile providers’) role lies in ensuring that valuable transactions are further protected by a PIN or two-step authentication – even those smaller purchases which usually don’t require a PIN.

She adds that users also have their part to play, notably by taking responsibility for the protection of their PINs, login details and passwords by keeping them secret and not giving them out to anyone.

“Just as WASPA is a self-regulating body that ensures its members are abiding by best practices, so individual shoppers need to self-regulate their security methods to ensure these are also the best possible practices.”

This will become more critical as wearables and direct mobile operator payments grow in popularity, she continues, and these devices – along with smartphones – are increasingly used to make tap-and-go payments.

The good news, notes Badenhorst, is that for additional security, tap-and-go transactions use randomised tokens that are sent via OTP to complete the transaction. Crucially, because these tokens are random, each one is unique to the individual transaction being undertaken. And for direct mobile operator payments, there’s no need for a credit card or banking details, it’s safe, secure and simple as long as you are careful and don’t click too quickly.

“Ultimately, tap-and-go payments as well as ‘add to mobile bill’ functionalities are safe, secure and convenient, but they are not necessarily infallible. Therefore, users need to always be vigilant when undertaking such transactions and accept their share of responsibility for safeguarding their cards, wearables, smartphones and opt-in data decisions,” concludes Badenhorst.




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Numerous challenges for transport and logistics
Transport (Industry) CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring Security Services & Risk Management Logistics (Industry)
Operators are making significant investments in automation and digitalisation in order to address security concerns, improve loss prevention as well as efficiency, and reduce unit order costs.

Read more...
Defining the resilience of cybersecurity
Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
Cyber resilience is less buzzword and more critical business strategy as the cybercrime landscape grows in intent and intensity.

Read more...
Technology and the future of security installation in South Africa
Editor's Choice Integrated Solutions Security Services & Risk Management
What are the technologies and trends shaping installation, service and maintenance teams globally, and how will they shape South African businesses today and in the future?

Read more...
The technology wave implications for staff mismatches in control rooms
Leaderware Editor's Choice Security Services & Risk Management
An industry habit of looking at control rooms through a physical security lens has increasingly left clients and staff at a disadvantage in keeping up with control room technology and demands.

Read more...
Streamlining processes, integrating operations
Security Services & Risk Management Integrated Solutions Transport (Industry) Logistics (Industry)
With Trackforce Valiant, Airbus now has one single platform that connects its security guards, supervisors and management across its organisation.

Read more...
Smollan partners with FleetDomain
Logistics (Industry) Asset Management, EAS, RFID Security Services & Risk Management Transport (Industry)
Smollan has been using FleetDomain to manage its fleet of around 2000 vehicles in South Africa, enabling it to contain costs and manage its fleet much more effectively.

Read more...
Smarter parking services
Security Services & Risk Management Transport (Industry) Logistics (Industry)
Smart technologies are changing the face of parking services and helping property owners realise their commercial objectives.

Read more...
Adopting a cyber-secure mindset
Security Services & Risk Management Cyber Security
Adopting a cybersecure mindset is the key to mitigating the risk of falling victim to the growing cybercrime pandemic.

Read more...
SAFPS warns against advance-fee scam
News Security Services & Risk Management
The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) has warned consumers of an advance-fee scam where the perpetrator is falsely presenting themself as a representative of the SAFPS.

Read more...
Fire prevention in your home or business?
Fidelity Services Group Fire & Safety Security Services & Risk Management
A recent fire at a nightclub in Boksburg has once again highlighted the importance of fire safety for both homes and businesses. When a fire breaks out, the consequences can be devastating.

Read more...