The rapid adoption of new payment technologies such as contactless and e-commerce has changed spending both online and offline. However, it has also led to a rise in fraud and cybercriminal activity, highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach to building and maintaining trust among all stakeholders.
Visa's recent Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) Security Summit, held in Dubai, brought together over 200 financial institutions, merchants, payment service providers, media representatives, and industry thought leaders to discuss the future of trusted digital money. The Summit's theme was "Trust 360," reflecting on Visa's approach to earning trust through consistent and sustained efforts to protect customer data and ensure their financial well-being.
The firm has invested over $10 billion in cutting-edge cybersecurity in the last five years to combat increasingly sophisticated criminals, using artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced data analytics to reduce fraud and prevent it before it even happens. These efforts are crucial to ensuring the continued growth and success of the region's economy, driven by a young, tech-savvy population and a growing middle class.
Protecting the future of digital money requires more than just investment in technology. It also requires a focus on ethical and responsible business practices, transparency of policies and practices, and collaboration with trusted partners.
The future of digital money in the region is bright, but it requires a comprehensive approach to building and maintaining trust. Visa's commitment to investing in cutting-edge cybersecurity and prioritizing ethical and responsible business practices is an example that should be followed by all players in the payment ecosystem. This way, we can ensure the continued growth and success of the region's economy and protect the future of digital money.
The trend of digital acceleration shows no signs of slowing down, with Visa’s CEMEA payment volumes rising steadily after the dip caused by the pandemic in April to June of 2020. Data shows the accelerated adoption of seamless and secure payment experiences across CEMEA where contactless payments grew to 82 per cent of all CEMEA transactions in 2022.
The pandemic has also accelerated cybercriminals' ability to cause harm, giving crooks the time to learn and accelerated their ability to cause harm. Furthermore, social engineering has become a popular tactic that cybercriminals use to extract confidential information from consumers, jeopardizing their security.
There is also a great need for increased security awareness and constant vigilance, as the global economy lost $7 trillion to cybercrime in 2022, which equates to $19.2 billion per day or $200,000 per second. Visa's cybersecurity strategy consists of five key elements: top talent, zero trust architecture, adaptive defense, data protection, and supply chain risk management.
Looking ahead, the increased use of stable coins is a global challenge for banks, leading to many new questions, such as “How do you protect stable coins from cybersecurity attacks?” or “How do you run AML (Anti-Money Laundering) checks on stable coins?” Companies must build trust to get the data necessary to create data-driven products and propositions, as that is the only way to be competitive in today’s landscape.
Building trust is essential to protect the future of digital money in the region. By working together, we can ensure the continued growth and success of the region's economy and protect the future of digital money.
The writer, Irene Auma, is the Head of Risk, Sub-Saharan Africa, Visa.