Everyday, consumers from all over the world use millions of credit and debit cards in electronic transactions. With the number of unique contactless users in Asia Pacific growing by 49% year-on-year, many are opting to pay through anything other than cash.
Swipe, dip and scan have become a quick and efficient means to transact. Although faster than the blink of an eye, we hardly ever notice the sophisticated process that ensures a seamless and safe transaction.
Unless a payment process goes awry, we rarely think about how our cards work. In fact, a great deal takes place once you swipe your debit or credit card. And the backend technology that enables it to undergo multiple checks and balances is fascinating.
Authorization is the first step of this process. This involves verifying the payer’s identity as well as the authenticity and availability of the payments card. These actions occur in just about 130 milliseconds!
Once authorization is complete, the second major part of the transaction process – clearing and settlement – takes place. An additional layer of the payments protection, this phase can take up to two days once a purchase has been made to verify the different entities involved in the payment process.
By the time we are finally billed, our payments card information has traveled through many checks and balances to ensure that what we get charged is in fact, accurate!
Protection beyond the swipe
A big part of payments responsibility rests on our shoulders as well. Besides the multi-check chain that your payment details go through to ensure a secure transaction, we can protect ourselves in the following ways:
- Should your payment card ever fall into the wrong hands, it is very easy to block the card with the ease of a phone call. This prevents you from being billed if you manage to cancel the card before the settlement phase! And even if you do not meet the timeline, fret not. You can always apply for a refund should there be unauthorized charges.
- If you are borrowing or lending money to a third party, cashless transactions make repaying all the more easier for record keeping, by providing an official transaction record.
- EMV chips (the rectangular, metallic chip on the front of your card) that most cards are outfitted with nowadays, confer an additional layer of security on the backend. How? These chips send a unique, short-lived code to the retailer. This prevents a hacker from accessing your card, taking the transaction security check level up a notch!
- In the future, instead of signatures and pin, there will be biometric payment authentication IDs that are yours and yours alone. In fact, using your thumbprint or iris pattern is a near possibility. Such unique, complex passwords are a strong deterrent against possible fraudsters trying to mimic them.
To do your part, always keep a keen eye out for any discrepancies on your transaction histories. And the next time you swipe or tap your card, take a moment to visualize the layers of authentication your payment details have to undergo. Before you know it, your ‘Approval’ will await you on the payment terminal!
Click here to learn more about how you can empower yourself with more payments-related safety and security tips.