ITWeb, partners to delve into disruption within the banking sector

The global banking community is currently engaged in debate over how to redesign infrastructure to better serve the needs of businesses and consumers.

ITWeb, in partnership with Sybrin and Tieto, has scheduled an exclusive two-day event aimed at those within Africa's central and regional payment infrastructure space.

The event, Modernising National and Regional Payment Infrastructures, will take place on 1-2 March at Langhams Lifestyle Estate, Fourways.

The main objective is to provide a networking and discussion platform for stakeholders to deliberate on key issues, including: emerging technologies impact on payment systems; thriving in a cashless and cardless environment; blockchain in a banking infrastructure; as well as payment infrastructure modernisation.

Topics like evaluating the business impact of the technologies: ISO8385 vs. ISO 20022; relevant national payment regulation; and exposing the threats and opportunities associated with national payment schemes, will also feature on the agenda.

Consulting, technology and outsourcing services firm, Capgemini Consulting, states: "In this new era of radical technological advances, the banking industry faces a number of challenges; for example, their customers now expect a modernised banking experience, including the digitisation of services such as online banking and mobile banking.

"This has led to an increased sense of competition across the banking sector, cost pressures and the need to proliferate product environments. However, most banking systems solutions are over 30 years old."

Banking disruption

The disruption of the financial services industry is evident in the number of banks embracing digitalisation on the continent, as well as the number of mobile payment solutions entering the market.

US-based enterprise integration firm, Fiorano Software announced last month that it will be facilitating digital transformation in Rwanda's largest commercial bank, Bank of Kigali. The Project includes integration with the Bank's Temenos T24 Core Banking Solution with support for online and offline banking features.

The company said, "The importance of technology to tap the market of a growing millennial generation that relies heavily on mobile transactions is vital."

Recently, Africa's biggest mobile operator, MTN announced ambitions to become the continent's biggest bank. The strategy, revealed by MTN CEO Rob Shuter, was triggered by the progress made by its Mobile Money offering in other geographies that it operates in.

In February 2018 UK-based cashless startup tappit entered into a joint venture in South Africa to provide seamless radio-frequency identification (RFID) cashless experience for events and permanent venues.

In January Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless opened a mobile money bond purchase platform in partnership with Untu Capital to raise US$1m in support of local startups.

Multinational ICT company Huawei has partnered with remittance service Xpress Money to target Africa's unbanked population.

Cybercrime threats

Experts continue to warn against the use of old technologies, given the rise in cyber crime and cyber attacks.

Amongst others, digital security services company Gemalto recently extended its PURE white-label payment solution to Ghana to help speed up the country's Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) migration and provide more secure contactless cards, in partnership with GhIPSS (Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems).

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), through the National Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC), recently issued a cyber crime warning.

In a recent cyber crime incident, hackers breached systems belonging to the National Bank of Kenya and made away with Ksh 29 million. The bank confirmed the incident on 17 January, through a statement on its Twitter handle.

The top malware categories, according to global cyber security solutions provider Check Point Software Technologies, are ransomware, banking, and mobile.

Speaking to ITWeb Africa during the Check Point Experience 2017 in SA last year, Steve McWhirter, the company's Vice President of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa urged the continent to upgrade systems to combat new cyber threats.