Armenian Card prepares to launch updated website and application in 2018
12 Mar 2018
YEREVAN, March 12. /ARKA/. In an exclusive interview with ARKA news agency Ishkhan Mkhitaryan, the executive director of the Armenian national payment system ArCa, speaks about the launch of its largest project, enabling interaction between the ArCa and the Russian MIR payment systems. He also speaks about plans for 2018, cyberattack threats and the technologies designed to protect customers from them.
ARKA - Mr. Mkhitaryan, how would you assess the performance of the Armenian Card Company in 2017?
Ish. Mkhitaryan - We have fulfilled all the main tasks planned for 2017. I mean first of all the largest project - the system interaction between ArCa and the Russian payment system MIR that provides for mutual acceptance and maintenance of ArCa and MIR cards. As part of that project we started producing multiprocessor chip cards ArCa. In addition, we have implemented a number of tasks aimed at developing the functionality, which we provide to banks and cardholders. In particular, modules have been introduced that increase the opportunities and effectiveness of interaction between banks and the processing center, aimed at improving the functionality provided by the Internet merchant.
ARKA - The number of online purchases is growing every year along with the risks of fraud. In this respect, what do you do to ensure safe Internet transactions?
Ish. Mkhitaryan - All Internet merchants connected to our system enable customers to make transactions by using their ArCa cards. Moreover, one of the tasks that we implemented last year was to introduce a new, more secure mechanism for Internet transactions made by using with ArCa cards. Internet transactions in Armenia grow from year to year, including through the functionality provided by our company, which is constantly being improved. The number of Internet merchants connected to our network grows on a daily basis, as well as the number and volume of transactions made by cards both inside and outside of Armenia. The national payment system is using free market rules for expansion of ArCa cards without resorting to administrative measures. I am sure that the projects and the work we did in 2017 will serve as a new impetus for the development of the national payment system. At the moment, almost half of cards we are processing - over 700 thousand cards – are ArCa cards.
ARKA – Starting from last July ArCa began servicing and maintaining Russian MIR cards in Armenia and vice versa. How many banks are currently engaged in the issue of joint cards and how many cards have been issued so far?
Ish. Mkhitaryan – I would like to specify that they are not joint cards, but usual ArCa cards with the well-known ArCa 9051xx BIN with chips. On the reverse side there is the logo of MIR as the so-called acceptance mark, so that no questions arise at sale points. Now three Armenian banks are issuing such cards. ArCa cards are already being serviced across entire Russia. At the moment, all ATMs in Armenia and the vast majority of outlets connected to our processing, accept MIR cards. By the middle of the year this number will increase to include banks, which have their own processing centers. I would like to note that the use of ArCa cards in Russia is much more profitable due to direct dram-ruble exchange rate both in the case of transactions and for cashing out.
ARKA - What technologies are used to protect users of ArCa payment system? How acute is the threat of cyber attacks and card fraud in Armenia?
Ish. Mkhitaryan -With the development of technology cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated. The protection of information systems requires constant efforts and resources. The cardholders themselves must follow the well-known rules when using their cards and related information For example, recently we received information that some users had received calls with a request to send sms-message code for one-time password to perform an Internet transaction, allegedly for verification. This is why we added to SMS-messages information warning that it is strictly prohibited to pass the code to third parties. I would like to take this opportunity to note that under no circumstances one should never pass or notify anyone about their PIN-codes or their one-time transaction codes by SMS or e-mail, or card details with CVV/CVC codes.
ARKA - What are the medium-terms tasks of Armenian Card and particularly, for 2018?
Ish. Mkhitaryan - Today we are working on the creation of our new website and application. We will not disclose details now, but this is a very interesting project. We'll talk more about it later this year. In 2018, we also plan to start servicing the cards of the Japanese payment system JCB. The certification work is at the final stage. We also plan servicing cards of the Chinese Union Pay International system.
ARKA - The most popular topic today is the blockchain technology. Do you consider the use of this technology in the Armenian Card payment system?
Ish. Mkhitaryan - We are studying this topic, but it is still too early to talk about its use in our company. Anyway, this is the evolution in the system of data transmission and storage, and, by and large, it seems that the future in this field belongs to blockchain technology.