South African bank, Nedbank has partnered with Advanced Consulting Partner Synthesis to develop a software-based point-of-sale (POS) system.
The solution, built on Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ) Web Services (AWS), can be installed on smartphones without any additional hardware. This allows single operators or small businesses to accept contactless payments easily, lowering the barrier to entry for the country’s retail industry.
Making POS Transactions Available to All Nedbank Group (JO: NEDJ ) – A diversified financial services provider, is one of Africa’s largest banking groups, with operations in South Africa, Namibia, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Mozambique, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe, and offshore in the Isle of Man and Jersey.
The group recognized the need for a streamlined digital payments solution. This led to the development of a software-based point-of-sale (SoftPOS) technology solution.
The Solution enables individual sellers or small retail shops to accept payments with only a compatible smartphone.
Functional lead for the Emerging Innovation team at Nedbank, Roelien van Rooyen, says, “We wanted to create a solution that was quick and easy to use, inexpensive, and met the needs of our clients.”
When licensing a solution from one of the global card payment giants proved to be costly in the long run, the bank opted for a different approach – its trusted technical delivery collaborator AWS Partner Synthesis which led to the birth of its cloud-based digital payment solution. This puts Nedbank on the map, as the first bank in Africa to offer a SoftPOS solution.
However, this did not come without a challenge. Nedbank and Synthesis had the tremendous task of replicating the high security of a purpose-built POS device in a mobile app using software, at the same time – ensuring that no additional hardware would be required.
Infrastructure and Scalability Built on AWS Container Technology Using containers on AWS, the backend services can scale automatically without worrying about server infrastructure and maintenance. This improves app performance and means retailers can reliably and quickly accept payments from buyers.
The entire backend of the SoftPOS system runs on AWS, with all transactions passing through AWS to Nedbank. The system uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which provides secure and resizable compute capacity for virtually any workload, and Amazon Electric Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), to start, run, and scale Kubernetes.
Signing and Encrypting Secure Messages Using AWS KMS The solution uses AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) to create and control the keys used to encrypt and digitally sign data. “AWS KMS is fundamental to system security,” says Aurel.
The system needs to encrypt and sign each message it sends, requiring two distinct cryptographic functions. AWS KMS ensures the authenticity of the message, so the person generating the data on the phone can be verified.
Synthesis built payment kernels (operating systems) to allow the solution to work with different card systems and created a software development kit (SDK) with the required embedded security features.
The bank can insert the SDK into any Nedbank app, allowing flexible use across its current product range. The solution went through many rigorous testing procedures to ensure it was secure enough to conduct financial transactions.
Simple, Inclusive Banking Services for Clients The contactless payment solution fulfills Nedbank’s commitment to serving its small business clients. The product is an easily developed SoftPOS that seamlessly enables businesses to accept debit and credit card payments inexpensively.
Nedbank is now exploring expanding its use of the SDK for use in other related sectors, notably insurance.
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