Results of a survey just released by consumer research firm Piplsay revealed that for 51 percent of Americans, preferences for touchless technologies have increased amid the pandemic. Perhaps even more striking, 82 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed said they expect businesses to continue adopting touchless technologies once the pandemic subsides, and 40 percent said they have negative views of businesses that do not adopt touchless technologies.
"The changes we see now will likely continue well past the pandemic as safety and health take on a more profound meaning," said Trupti Rane, consumer insights manager at Piplsay.
High-profile data breaches, emerging data privacy regulations and rapid digital commerce deployments necessitate advanced approaches to security and compliance, stated Geoff Forsyth, chief information security officer at PCI Pal. "Even for the most prepared, COVID-19 likely threw a wrench in payment providers' data privacy and security plans," Forsyth said in an interview with The Green Sheet. "Many were ill-equipped for the transition to remote working, especially when it came to keeping customer data secure." Forsyth advised companies to take a strategic approach to privacy compliance that considers in-office and remote workers. Plans should span all levels of an organization and allow time for a comprehensive review process, he stated.
April 21, 2021, marked the official launch of "sarie," an instant payment system built by Saudi Payments in partnership with IBM and Mastercard and supervised by the Saudi Central Bank. Designed to enhance the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's payments ecosystem, the service brings instant payments to Saudi banks throughout the region, according to project managers. Fahad Al-Akeel, managing director at Saudi Payments, described the project as a huge step forward that will "help lay the foundation for new payments business initiatives, encouraging financial inclusion and banking reconciliation of Saudi banks," he said in a statement. "We welcome this momentous collaboration with IBM and Mastercard."
Visa and Mastercard are making way for crypto-payments on their networks. Visa launched a pilot program that bridges digital and traditional currencies by using USD Coin, a stablecoin cryptocurrency backed by the U.S. dollar, to settle transactions on its network using Ethereum, an open source blockchain technology. Anchorage, the first federally chartered digital asset bank, is the exclusive digital currency settlement partner for the pilot.
Meanwhile, Mastercard formed a partnership with ConsenSys, a software engineering firm that provides tools and services to support Ethereum. While Mastercard is not ready to fully support cryptocurrency transactions, Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president for blockchain and digital asset products and partnerships at Mastercard, suggested that crypto settlements are in the cards.
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