Payments Association of South Africa

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  • The “safety and soundness of the national payment system” is a priority of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).


The “safety and soundness of the national payment system” is a priority of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Its deputy governor‚ Francois Groepe‚ on Tuesday told a Payments Association of SA (Pasa) conference that new‚ far-reaching financial sector legislation “will include the introduction of new and more comprehensive regulations as well as expanded oversight and supervision by various regulators”.

Groepe called for cooperation from financial and fintech roleplayers to bolster an industry under attack from fraudsters‚ saying: “SARB will interact with all participants in this environment to ensure that the necessary attention and priority is given.

“It is not the role of regulators to hamper innovation‚ but the SARB is jointly responsible for financial stability‚ which includes aspects such as cybersecurity‚ infrastructures‚ and a safe and efficient financial system.

“Executives should no longer ignore the importance of the national payment system and its infrastructure‚ or the risks and threats (eg‚ cybersecurity) in this environment. Payment systems and related matters need to be elevated from the back office to the boardroom. This has happened at the SARB and other central banks‚” he added.

“We therefore need to strive towards achieving a healthy balance when we respond to these developments.”

Groepe’s comments coincided with Pasa’s announcement of “a new standardised specification to facilitate biometric authentication on payment cards”.

“Working in partnership with Mastercard and Visa‚ this technology framework is designed to ensure open interoperable solutions in South Africa. The specification enables a range of biometric solutions‚ from fingerprint verification to palm‚ voice‚ iris‚ or facial biometrics‚” said the association.

“Tokenisation – which is the process of replacing sensitive account number data with a unique string of numbers that cannot be used to make transactions – has already hit its straps as the emerging data security standard. Although‚ like most transformative technologies‚ it is widely expected to morph into further disruption as it evolves‚” it elaborated.

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