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RBI's 'tokenisation' move to fight rising cyber crimes in India

Tokenisation is a process that masks actual card details using a unique alternate code called the "token", which is unique for a combination of card, token requestor-for instance m-commerce apps-and devices like smart phones.

twitter-logo Niti Kiran   New Delhi     Last Updated: January 10, 2019  | 13:33 IST
RBI's 'tokenisation' move to fight rising cyber crimes in India

The RBI has now permitted authorised card payment networks--covering credit, debit as well as prepaid cards--to offer tokenisation services to their customers. This is banking regulator's effort to enhance the safety and security of the payment systems in the country. Tokenisation is a process that masks actual card details using a unique alternate code called the "token", which is unique for a combination of card, token requestor-for instance m-commerce apps-and devices like smart phones. Thereafter, in lieu of actual card details, this token is used to perform card transactions in contactless mode at Point Of Sale (POS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) code payments, in-app payments and the like, thereby protecting cardholders from fraud and data-theft.

Opting for tokenisation, which masks actual card details, reduces risks related to data theft.

In India, there were 1,035.64 million cards outstanding on November 2018, out of which 992.4 million were debit cards and 43.24 million were credit cards and this has grown from a total 778.98 million cards in 2016. This impressive growth in other words represents the augmented use of this cashless mode of payment. The volume of card transactions in fact went up by 1.5 times in this period. In value terms these transactions more than doubled-from Rs 1,82,300 crore in November 2016 to Rs 3,83,904 crore in November 2018. This was driven by debit and credit card transactions, which grew by 113.3 per cent and 94.7 per cent, respectively, in value terms during the period.

 

But this also presents more opportunities cyber criminals. Sample this: As per National Crime Records Bureau, cases registered under cyber frauds doubled between 2014 and 2016.  Cases registered under cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust or fraud for cyber crimes went up from 1,232 in 2014 to 2,466 in 2016. Although over 90 per cent of these cyber crimes are registered under cheating, cases registered under the credit or debit card frauds increased from 10 in 2014 to 26 in 2016.

 

Indian Police has been constantly fighting cyber crime and has taken up multiple initiatives (cyber crime labs, response centers, cyber forensic labs etc.) to counter it. State government and state police are constantly developing new anti-cyber crime measures with the help of central government and private organisations. Other than these initiatives, training and development of police officers in the field of identifying and solving cyber crimes has been made imperative to keep police updated about latest criminal activities and the methods required to tackle it.  A recent ASSOCHAM-NEC joint study estimates cyber security market size in India to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 36.2 per cent between 2017 & 2021.

*estimated   

Source: ASSOCHAM-NEC report

Also read: RBI's new move to make card payments safer: All you need to know about tokenisation

Credit cards, ATM cards without this feature will stop working after December 31

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