Standard Bank in mass NFC roll-out

The bank will soon start offering contactless payment technology built into clients’ credit and cheque cards, signalling the biggest move yet by a South African financial institution to adopt the technology.

Standard Bank will begin including contactless payment technology in new credit and cheque cards, allowing customers to make payments using the “tap-and-go” method, rather than them having to have their cards swiped or inserted into a chip reader.

All new gold and titanium credit and cheque cards from Standard Bank will be equipped with the technology, with the bank telling TechCentral it’s using near-field communication (NFC)-based technology provided by MasterCard.

The cards are linked to clients’ bank accounts, allowing for funds to be deducted directly from their accounts, says Standard Bank’s head of personal markets, Sugendhree Reddy.

“Unlike many systems currently available, customers don’t have to pre-load cards with money to use this method of payment.”

There are already 450 compatible point-of-sale device in KwaZulu-Natal, mainly around transport hubs, with a limited number of devices available in the broader market. “We will be focusing on rolling out point-of-sale devices into the market more broadly in the near future,” a spokesman tells TechCentral.

The cards carry the MasterCard PayPass logo and have antennae imbedded in them. These antennae allow customers to pay at point-of-sale devices displaying the Paypass logo by tapping the card to the terminal. Customers do not need to give the card to the cashier, enter a pin or sign a slip for payments under R200.

To ensure security, a pin will be required for bigger amounts, the bank says.

A Standard Bank cheque card with integrated PayPass technology from MasterCard

Current Standard Bank customers will receive the new cards when their current cards are due for renewal. The annual fee for the contactless cards remains the same as for current cheque and credit cards. Paying via the tap-and-go method will count as an electronic transaction, the cost of which is bundled into banking packages.

The functionality will be extended to Visa-based cards in 2013, according to Reddy. “Standard Bank anticipates that the wider availability of these cards in the South African market will drive the tap-and-go method as a more common system of payment locally.”

For now, consumers are not able to use MasterCard’s PayPass application for NFC-enabled smartphones.

Standard Bank has already rolled out contactless payment technology in Durban’s transport system. Commuters using People Mover and Durban Transport buses can use the Muvo-branded transit card to pay their fare. The card replaces the traditional bus travel coupon, which provides for preloaded and discounted trips as well as concessionary travel passes for students and pensioners.

The Muvo cards are prefunded and reloadable, and can be used as a standard MasterCard, as well as in a contactless environment using PayPass.  — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media

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  • Jeremy Rundle

    this is the same technology recently proven to be extremely insecure and easily hack-able in Europe! There’s various YouTube video’s showing a group of guys in Europe walking around with a battery powered device which is used to “skim” the details off the card using this wireless technology.

  • Jan Chrzciciel

    What authentication is required for a NFC transaction?

    Can a card thief simply tap and go?

    Can the near field be disabled by the card carrier?

  • ChevronZa

    If you read the article you’d see for amounts over R200 you need a pin.

  • Jeremy Rundle

    With the information stored on the card and transmitted via WiFi (Your card number, address(?), expiry date, CVV number all the potential card skimmer needs to do is use your card for web purchases. There’s no way of requiring a pin when purchasing something via the web…. Do yourself a favour, go on YouTube, search Google and you will see how much of a security risk this actually is. The general advice would be to refuse the card and request your bank to provide you with a card that does not have the WiFi symbol.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    Check that video in Joe’s post below – it looks like all cards aren’t vulnerable – I’m hoping that Standard Bank has learned from the early Barclays mistake and having their new cards not vulnerable to skimming.

    The CVV number isn’t stored on the card, nor is it transmitted. The same info on the magstripe is all the skimmers can get. Further investigation shows that if the merchant doesn’t ask for the CVV, they’re liable to refund any illegal purchses on your card, not the bank.

    BTW, it’s NFC not Wifi – very different beasts.

  • Wogan

    Bravo for rolling this out! Even if the cards do present a bit of a risk, there’s every reason to expect a halo effect from this investment – more NFC POS devices + more NFC-enabled smartphones == happiness.

  • Wogan

    Which of course means a thief could rack up tons of R190 airtime purchases if they got ahold of your card. And then re-sell that airtime at a discount for some easy cash.

  • Joe

    Also, CVV is just a 3 digit number – so you could try CVVs 500 times and have a 50% success rate.

  • Biscuit1018

    If you recall correctly then thats sad.
    Seems like up to R200 no PIN and PIN thereafter rule is more to protect the bank?

  • Biscuit1018

    One minor correction.
    If you use VISA and you purchase from the web there are a number of websites that require PIN entry from VISAS secure transactions screen.

    Off hand I cant think of a website that does it but I have done it frequently
    I only do it with large trusted companies.
    I dont like doing it much

    I have always thought that its a great phishing opportunity.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    The bank will lock the card after 3 failed CVV attempts. Amazingly, over the past few decades, the banks have learned to anticipate the first thought that comes into your mind about hacking their system. You’re left with a a 0.3% success rate.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    This is a common way of criminals using stolen credit cards, although I think more and more vendors phone home on the smaller amounts (rather than batch them and send them through after hours) and they usually pick up on these sprees quite early. I know someone whose card was stolen and abused like this a few months ago to the tune of R10’s of 1000’s, and the bank refunded them fully. So the R200 minimum is probably a logistics/cost issue to try to take the strain of the smaller, less profitable amounts, off the system during peak hours.

  • Nevi_me

    With the exception of Apple, there’s a decently increasing number of NFC enabled phones in SA.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    In my company of about 25 people, there’s about 10 NFC-enabled phones (GS3 & WP8). Being a dev house, we’re early adopters, but also early abandoners – the last iPhone hold-out is about to jump to a Lumia 920. Apple doesn’t call the shots any more, the devices to watch are Samsung’s. I would bet they’ll start putting NFC into cheaper and cheaper phones now that the big banking boys around the world are starting to show interest in NFC.

  • Nevi_me

    Don’t forget the Berries, they also have NFC.

  • Paul Opie

    This cards cant be skimmed and used for internet purchase as not all the data can be read through the contactless interface. The cards in youtube were corrected and reissued. In addition only a limited number of less than R200 transactions can take place before the cards requires an online PIN transaction.

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