1. Since the emergence of the pandemic, Mauritians are turning more and more towards mobile payment solutions or using cards. What is your observation?
The pandemic was definitely a catalyst to move to alternative payment methods such as mobile payments, contactless card payments and specially card payments for e-commerce transactions. At the start of the lockdown and enforcement of social distance policies, some merchants saw the opportunity and rapidly launched e-commerce groceries and digital food stores to satisfy the demand of the consumers who wanted to avoid the long queues at super markets and grocery stores. Moreover, the perception of cash as vehicle for coronavirus has prompted second thoughts about banknotes. The alarming situation has even pushed banks in China, where the outbreak started, to disinfect cash before issuing it to the public in an attempt to slow the virus spread. Retail operators had no option than to rethink their go-to-market in the face of this important shift.
From the statistics we have gathered, 90% of shoppers paid online with a combination of debit cards, credit cards and mobile payments apps. Although the overall transaction volumes decreased during that period, we also observed that online card transaction volumes in the period April – June 2020 surpassed that of POS (Point of Sale) card transactions.
2. Are we moving towards a 'cashless society'?
The national efforts to move away from cash is relatively slow but the progress observed in the last 4-5 years remain encouraging. Alternative payment methods such as Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mobile payment apps are clearly on the rise and its adoption can only pick up more steam as the market matures. The launch of the Mauritius Central Automated Switch (MauCAS) in 2019 is an evidential testimony of this drive and vision by the Government.
If you compare the number of Debit and Credit Cards in circulation in the last 4 years, there is an 11% increase, to reach nearly 1,9m cards in circulation as at August 2020, for a population of around 1.2 million. The number of ATM transactions increased however by 28% for the same period and the number of mobile payments has seen an increase of 68% (Statistics Bank of Mauritius).
Although the statistics show good progress, there is still a lot more to be done by our local banks to further promote awareness of best practices to use cards and mobile payments as a safe and more convenient way to pay and transact. This should help to accelerate the adoption rate of digital payments.
3. In parallel with the development of mobile payment solutions, what kind of investments is required by card issuers to scale their business and ensure that transactions and personal data remain fully secure?
In line with the scaling up of the business model, Card Issuers have to take cognizance of the number of Cards usage following the covid-19 pandemic outbreak; which has seen a surge on the usage of card-based transactions. Hence, issuers have to ensure an efficient business continuity in terms of card management system from a technology infrastructure perspective. Personal data of customers are well preserved as part of PCI-DSS standards in place and respective ISO27001 standards. On top of that, we as card issuing organizations have to adhere with necessary GDPR standard enacted as part of Data protection.
For sustaining the business model, another value-added component is investing in powerful analytics platforms which shall enable organizations to make better, faster business decisions based on real-time, anonymized and aggregated transaction data and proprietary analysis. Organizations should be able to analyze large amounts of data, enabling business leaders to make more data-driven decisions and implement business initiatives at scale.
From a risk management perspective, we as organization are carrying out regular risk assessments at our end and on top of that we are focused on building a 360-degree view ecosystem to monitor and contain fraudulent and malicious activities. Through the investment in the latest technology such as fraud monitoring systems which uses machine learning (AI), EMV Chip for Card present transactions, Contactless Card technology and 3D secure V2.0 technology.