First National Bank (FNB) is piloting a contactless payment system at toll gates that will let any Mastercard or Visa cardholder pay toll fees without having to hand over their card.

It has also revamped its token framework for virtual and physical cards to improve security and give cardholders more control over how their sensitive credentials are stored and secured.

FNB’s head of card modernisation, Jason Viljoen explains that limited network coverage was primarily to blame for contactless payment systems not being introduced at toll booths around the country in the past, but coverage has since improved.

Viljoen added that although FNB is responsible for piloting tap-to-pay at toll booths, any Mastercard or Visa cardholder would be able to use the system.

“The contactless devices deployed at the toll gates are issued by FNB but allow for payments from any Visa and MasterCard enabled card,” he said.

“So other banks’ customers will also experience the convenience and speed of contactless payments.”

Another potential problem for such systems is vandalism by employees, as it could threaten their job security.

However, Viljoen said FNB doesn’t foresee any issues as toll booths will still need to be physically manned to manage other forms of payment.

“We don’t foresee any possible job losses as a result of the rollout of these contactless devices at toll gates,” he said.

“Through these devices, FNB has simply provided another contactless option for motorists to make payments at tollgates.”

“The toll booths would still need to be physically manned by an operator to manage payments made by motorists,” he added.

Regarding FNB’s revamped card framework, Viljoen explained that previously, banks had little control over how sensitive card data was stored when captured on a merchant platform.

To combat the lack of control, FNB reworked its tokenisation framework for all cards and implemented a CVV code that changes hourly for its virtual cards.

“In the traditional method of physically capturing your card into a merchant platform for online payments and subscriptions, the merchant would need to have enabled tokenisation with their acquiring partner for the security benefit to be realised,” he said.

“The issuing bank has little control over how these sensitive credentials are stored and secured, hence the value of the dynamic CVV on our virtual card adding an additional layer of security.”

Viljoen said the new framework — which also applies to device wallets enabled by FNB Pay — allows the issuing bank to assign a token representing the card to the merchant or payment platform.

“For example, a token requestor such as Apple Pay requests a token from the Bank for the card in question via the framework,” Viljoen said.

“The bank authenticates that it is the cardholder that has initiated the request before responding with a token representing that card.”

He said the bank could also set the token to follow additional rules, such as only allowing it to be used on a specific device.

Cardholders can then suspend or resume tokens from within the FNB app.

“It will take a number of years for the majority of merchants and platforms to fully adopt the new token framework, but we continue to work with Visa and Mastercard in support of this journey,” Viljoen said.

Editor@tech-talk.co.za