Driving digital security forwards in Africa
As mobile technology and digital transformation advances on the continent, African countries, businesses and residents are set to benefit from being part of payment card personalization networks as opportunities aboundFinancial services have seen huge disruption over the last ten years, with many institutions remodeling their operations to better serve their customers. Key to this change has been the effective implementation of digital transformation and customer behavior, and nowhere is this happening at a faster rate than across Africa, where a total mobile subscriber base is expected to reach 623 million by 2025 (GSMA, 2019).
Certainly, there are some barriers for businesses in some parts of Africa – a lack of effective landline telephone systems, or limited infrastructure would present challenges wherever you are in the world. But, the growth in Africa’s budding mobile economy depicts a promising future for connectivity and security on the continent.
Take a look at South Africa, for example. It’s where the retail bank Capitec is leading the way in putting mobile and technology at the forefront of its business. Established in March 2001, the retail bank had the aim of building a sustainable business, with a client‐first approach. And it worked. It grew from having no customers, to over 10 million clients, and offering services in 840 branches across the country.
In South Africa, retail bank Capitec is leading the way in putting mobile and technology at the forefront of its business
But beyond the bricks of its branch buildings, Capitec Bank saw the fast‐moving world around it, and acknowledged the ever‐increasing expectations of consumers today. The bank launched a digital banking platform, which streamlined its banking process for customers. Today, more than 5.2 million of its clients use its digital banking platforms for money management. “This probably makes us one of the biggest digital banks in terms of numbers in SA,” a spokesperson for Capitec Bank said in a recent public statement.
But, with such expansive digital growth comes risk. The importance of security with banking has always been high – but with so many new customers (Capitec Bank has an average of 14 000 new credit card clients signed up every month), the safety of customers’ assets is even more of a priority for the bank.
So, what can banks do to ensure their businesses are protected?
Step in G+D Mobile Security‐ with over 160 years of experience, G+D Mobile Security takes security seriously. Today, it is leading the way in global payment transactions, ensuring the highest digital protection for clients, safeguarding billions of user transactions from start to finish, with a whole range of solutions such as personalized cards (meaning the unique numbers across the card). In fact, it operates the largest payment card personalization networks around the globe.
For banks like Capitec Bank to thrive, the offers and solutions G+D Mobile Security provides are a necessity. And while G+D Mobile Security may be a global company, a continent it had yet to focus on was Africa.
In this next stage of growth, G+D Mobile Security is focusing on Southern and Central Africa. This summer, they opened a new personalization bureau in Johannesburg, where the physical and digital personalization of payment cards can be manufactured.
For South‐Africa based clients like Capitec Bank, this local presence is hugely advantageous: it will enable shorter processing times for customer orders, and faster delivery of cards. In the bureau, G+D Mobile Security will have a capacity of making around 10 million personalized cards in the first year alone.
Jerusha Rooplall, the Managing Director of Sub Saharan Africa for G+D, has been working with the company since 2000. Based in Johannesburg, Rooplall notes Europe is typically far ahead when it comes to developments in digital security and banking, and that Africa is following its lead.
And while G+D Mobile Security has never had a personalization site locally in Africa before, Rooplall says there are many misconceptions that prevent people from broadening their reach in the continent.
“It’s not an area that people will go into to do business very quickly,” she explains. “And, as such, we have decided to explore into that region, to be able to supply the solutions that those countries in Central Africa don’t have. We want to ensure these countries have their basic communications needs met.”
Yet no matter the location, the driving aim for G+D Mobile Security is to protect users’ information when it comes to communication and financial transactions.
Rooplall says the company is always developing and implementing new efforts to ensure they do this, thinking of innovative ways to protect clients, and always remaining forward‐thinking.
“A few years ago, you just simply had a magnetic strip, and it was sufficient to secure your digital identity,” she explains. “It used to be enough to protect your bank account. But with time, we have developed and implemented more advanced techniques to protect users’ digital identity.”
Beyond this, connectivity is also a priority for G+D Mobile Security in South Africa, and a large aspect of their business. They position themselves amongst the big group customers on the continent such as Vodacom, MTN and Orange, as well as servicing the smaller non‐group customers. The company also assists start‐ups through its service, as well as consulting them on best practices in the industry. With e‐SIM hitting South African shores, G+D Mobile Security ensure that the local MNO’s are equipped to service their customers.
Underpinning G+D Mobile Security’s investment in digital security is a strong commitment to local businesses. And in Africa, Rooplall says this commitment isn’t only evident in the services on offer.
“We have a culture of not only supporting,” she says, “but also empowering local businesses.”
We have a culture of supporting and empowering local businesses
Jerusha Rooplall, Managing Director Sub Saharan Africa, G+D
G+D Mobile Security has built social impact into their bottom line, investing in small to medium enterprises on an annual basis, identifying vendors who may need assistance, and providing support by listening to their needs. Some investments may even include buying a new vehicle or equipment to assist develop the business.
Elsewhere, G+D Mobile Security invests in ICT and skills development, particularly with underprivileged youth, identifying students who could benefit from financial support for their studies. “You shouldn’t only be in the business of making money,” Rooplall says, “it’s also about being sustainable, and ensuring those around us profit too.”
In an industry where one small mistake can mean exposing sensitive data or losing assets, digital security will only continue to grow in importance. And while G+D Mobile Security may be adopting and leading new efforts to protect businesses, there are always emerging threats, and criminals are always finding new ways to scam.
“Criminals are finding more and more innovative ways to swindle customers!” Rooplall says. “And for that reason, G+D Mobile Security has to be on top of the game in every transaction by safeguarding the end‐user and authenticating its data so that we don’t fall prey to it.”
Still, despite the increasing number of security risks facing all digital security companies, G+D Mobile Security is confident it’s ahead of the game. And whether a bank like Capitec Bank, or a healthcare agency, it will accommodate rising demand – and the opening of G+D Mobile Security’s bureau in Johannesburg is just the start of its commitment to push forward digital security across the continent.