The association’s new electronic strategy

The Electronic Payment Service Providers Association intends to operate as a competence center as opposed to a lobbying organization – said Mihály Veres, president of the organization and CEO of National Mobile Payment Plc. The Association is setting up an electronic payment strategy to enhance client security and fight over-regulation. The measures are aiming to avoid unfortunate cases like BKK’s e-ticket fiasco.

– Where did the idea to found this Association come from?

– Unlike many other professional organizations, the Electronic Payment Service Providers Association (EFISZ) was not created to lobby, much rather to form a professional community, which, based on concentrated competence, is entitled to express opinions and even advise government organs. Our members include institutions whose best interest is to expand electronic and mobile payment services. Thus, most of them are commercial banks and telecommunication service providers. In addition to the Hungarian National Bank’s very own automated clearing house operator, Giro Zrt., several state-owned companies, like the postal service of Magyar Posta Zrt. or the national mobile payment service of National Mobile Payment Plc. (NMP) have also joined us. We believe that this circle provides an adequate professional basis for efficiently supporting the government’s efforts to spread electronic payments as widely as possible. Electronic payments are cheaper and safer than traditional payment methods. They have been efficiently used to combat shadow economies, promising further results in this area.

– Shouldn’t credit card companies be part of the circle of your members?

– EFISZ is open to everyone who agrees with our objectives and accepts our standards. The Association was obviously founded by organizations already working in close cooperation: when the idea came up, we contacted our direct partners first.

– How dominant is NMP when it comes to management?

– The Association works on a fully democratic basis, which doesn’t include an independent managerial role. However, the competences and experiences we accumulated in the state-owned company can now be shared to benefit the public. Being the first in building up and operating a nationwide mobile payment system, it’s our responsibility to lead this national case. The successful operation of our Association’s model and services—mobile parking, e-vignette and HU-GO mobile phone payments—for three years in a row goes to show that there is a direction of development that benefits both clients and service providers. All members of our Association have started a serious innovation in their respective fields. If we link these together by setting up efficient cooperation relations, we may speed up the propagation of the electronic payment systems.

– Figures are getting better and better, though in comparison with those of the Western European or Scandinavian countries, we are still lagging behind. What could possibly bring about a breakthrough?

– One of these projects could be public transport. In the referenced countries, the use of transportation cards or electronic, digitalized round-trip tickets or season tickets is a given. Through transport, electronic payment systems can be widely propagated. If users experience that the solution is fast and secure, it helps rid them of their existing prejudices, and they will be more likely to make payments electronically in other transactions, too. Making electronic payments available for other public services will also benefit the cause.

– This naturally calls for eliminating “trust-killers” like the recent e-ticket case of the Centre for Budapest Transport, (BKK).

– This is precisely where EFISZ comes in the picture. The blunder that happened in the capital city warns us that carefully planned developments will not suffice: repeated tests and professional reviews are also necessary. In terms of trust, I would like to point out that the implementation of the payment standard PSD2 in Europe and Hungary is coming soon, topped by starting immediate wire transfer possibilities for domestic use. For the most part, information about this topic is limited to the fact that several applications will appear to offer enhanced experiences to users of payment systems, starting in 2018. Let me warn you to be cautious: user experience is one thing, but in this situation, people’s money is at stake. The emergence of new, modern technologies redefines security, which, at same time, is gaining more and more importance. It is paramount to hinder unauthorized access to personal data or money. EFISZ only intends to accept organizations as members whose priorities include the security of customers’ data and payment transactions. We are also planning to draft a code of conduct, which we hope will become a brand for EFISZ members in terms of quality. The biggest challenge is the setup of our electronic payment strategy, which we hope to complete and present to the government by the end of next year.

– Will it be accepted?

– It primarily depends on our members’ product standards, and how we will be able to demonstrate the competences behind the concept. EFISZ will have a twofold task. On the one hand, old routines have to be changed. Based on the experiences of the digital technology so far, current processes may not have to be replaced or “electronized”. On the other hand, new opportunities have to be exploited, but we will potentially also play an important role (being the reason for drafting our code of conduct) in supporting the legislator in finding the feasible “golden standards” by providing professional insight: while regulating the conduct of electronic payments, legislation also has to allow for reasonable and necessary developments in this field.

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