Transaction processing specialist Ecentric Payment Systems is boosting the performance and security of transactions by implementing hardware encryption devices supplied by Stanchion Payment Systems. The Futurex devices are unseen to the general public, yet perform an essential function every time a credit, debit or other card is used: they make sure the information exchanged between point of sale, bank and customer account is completely secure.
“By deploying the devices, Ecentric will be the first payments provider in Africa to deploy ‘point to point’ encryption (P2PE), thereby establishing the strongest protection possible for our Retailer customers and their brand. P2PE will provide a competitive advantage and is a major step forward in assisting our customers achieve compliance with the most rigorous industry standard, PCI-DSS,” says the company’s Projects Director, Hassen Sheik.
Founded 16 years ago, Ecentric Payment Systems is a transaction processing business which processes all card transactions and other payments and Value Added Services from small to very large retailers in South Africa and Africa, he says.
“When people use their debit or credit cards, our technology is behind the transaction. We assist retailers with their Point of Sale systems, connecting to the secure pinpad, and from there connecting to our Postilion Switches located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, which routes the transaction to the acquiring bank,” Sheik explains.
It’s a service that consumers use every day without giving any thought to, he agrees – and there isn’t any need to, either, so long as those transactions are entirely secure. “That’s what the Futurex devices do. They provide an assurance that every transaction is conducted with a level of integrity that complies with all the applicable regulations, providing peace of mind for consumers, retailers and banks,” Sheik notes.
Max Gysi, Business Development Manager at Stanchion Payment Solutions, says the ‘end-to-end’ encryption provided by the Futurex devices allows for card data to be transmitted securely from point of purchase to the Switch at Ecentric in a single process. “Futurex supports the latest card data encryption standards and uses the point-of-sale’s existing security key to protect the information. Because the module itself is tamper-proof and tamper-evident, the security keys are completely secure from physical breach,” he says.
Gysi explains that PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard) is a proprietary information security standard for organisations that handle cardholder information for the major debit, credit, prepaid, e-purse, ATM, and POS cards. “In effect, Ecentric is deploying technology which ensures transaction integrity, without adversely affecting the speed with which transactions are processed.”
Sheik says while a number of vendors provide similar hardware, the key factors for selecting Futurex are not based solely on the capabilities of the hardware. “These are mission-critical devices for our business; if they stop working, we stop working. As a result, the after sales support and maintenance provided by Stanchion is every bit as important in the selection of the devices as their ability to meet our performance requirements.”
He says three of the upgradeable devices have been implemented, with two located in Cape Town and the third in Johannesburg. “If any one encounters a problem, there is automatic failover to the other, while the third one is in reserve as a further layer of redundancy. That’s how important these devices are to our business.”