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Data must be protected at all costs: the importance of cybersecurity

Data must be protected at all costs: the importance of cybersecurity

The rise of the FinTech ecosystem has revolutionised our lives. Going cashless has introduced an unprecedented degree of seamlessness, convenience, transparency and accountability to our transactions.

But for all its benefits, it comes with its fair share of risks. The finance industry has always been the target of scams and fraud. In pre-digital times it was forged documents and signatures or just straight up bank robberies. Today, with transactions moving online, fraud is committed digitally in the form of phishing, hacking and data theft making it imperative for the industry to utilize secure payment processing systems and infrastructure.

That is why, while the benefits of a cashless economy far, far outweigh the risks, it is the responsibility of every FinTech company to prioritise security.

India’s leading mobile wallet service provider, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), has over 160 million users. In fact the interface — and by extension cashless transactions — proved to be so popular that it was downloaded more than 17 million times in less than two months since its launch.

Digital payment frauds, meanwhile, account for about half of all bank frauds in India. There were 1,477 reported frauds related to ATM/debit card, credit card and internet banking transactions of more than ₹1 lakh each in in FY 2018-19, according to a report presented to the Rajya Sabha.

Now consider the fact that the RBI expects UPI and IMPS transactions to double annually and that gives you an idea of why cyber attacks on the financial ecosystem are only going to increase.

Cyber criminals are always going to look for an edge. But that doesn’t mean the threat they pose cannot be contained.

For a long time, even as FinTechs turned to the cloud to scale up their businesses, they were reluctant to adopt cloud-based security.

Attackers typically target sensitive customer details like login information, bank account, card and Aadhaar numbers, or other personal information such as names and addresses.

Also at risk could be confidential documents resting on the FinTech company’s servers that could include confidential design and trade data pertaining to their own upcoming service offering.

Cloud-based security can mitigate the risks of attackers gaining access to such information and digital payment frauds in India by offering the right systems and infrastructure for the security of online payments.

But simply getting cloud-based security isn’t going to help. It is incumbent upon every FinTech company to thoroughly vet the sort of cloud-based security they are getting.

Not all cloud-based security service providers (CSP) provide the same depth and quality of security. So every FinTech company must conduct its own due diligence. Beyond that, they then must turn to a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) whose job it is to validate and certify the competence of a CSP’s security offering. Lastly, the FinTech should then corroborate the assessment provided by the QSA before taking a final call on signing up to a CSP’s services.

The unfortunate truth is that no system, regardless of the level of security, can be completely, totally impenetrable. But the only way FinTechs can stay two steps ahead of cyber attackers is to keep relentlessly chasing perfection in terms of standards of cybersecurity for digital payments.

Ultimately, it is in the interests of a FinTech company’s own business to protect its customers’ data. It is also their responsibility. The push towards that, therefore, should be relentless.    

Online Tax Filing - Driving through Tax technology and Transformation

Online Tax Filing – Driving through Tax technology and Transformation

The government is making a concerted effort to make India, an emerging economy, one of the world’s leading nations. The tax that the government collects from citizens is a major factor that helps support the government’s developmental activities to boost the economy. The government’s new taxation policies including the implementation of a single indirect tax, GST, for the entire country has helped India become a unified market, and has been seen as a definite step towards better understanding of technology supporting and growing the transformative power of taxation. 

Another memorable reform the government introduced was in 2016, when, recognizing the importance of moving away from the time-consuming and labour-intensive paper filing, it made a positive shift towards the adoption of tax technology. The Equalisation Levy was introduced for the first time in the world. This demonstrated a positive attitude towards what we now refer to as ‘tax technology and transformation’, as well as an activity that has made the process of filing taxes simple, easy, and something one can do on the go. 

Tax Technology and Transformation  

The digital economy was created as a result of billions of transactions amongst people, businesses, governments, and so on. As a result of the ever-changing economy, the old taxation policies had to change because they applied to a very different business/cultural environment, making way for a highly-sophisticated and closely-monitored online tax filing system. The adoption of technology in the business tax function has been minimal, but tax payers and authorities continue to seek innovation in technology for transformation of tax filing methods. 

Leaders, people, and businesses are all important, but teams that include automation such as Artificial Intelligence and others in technology act as agents that hold everything together. Teams preparing for the future of taxation should harness the power of technology to foster a collaborative environment in which humans and machines complement each other’s efforts. With the introduction of automation, time-consuming manual tasks performed by tax professionals have been automated, demonstrating the advancement of tax technology to help enable and empower the transformation of India’s economy. 

Beginner’s Guide to making secure online transactions

Beginner’s Guide to making secure online transactions

This blog will walk you through some simple steps that one can take to ensure they’re making secure online transactions whether it is online shopping or a money transfer.

Financial technology (fintech) companies are now a necessity, offering vital services that have become much more critical during the ongoing pandemic. The use of digital payment devices, utilities, and banking products has increased exponentially, bringing tremendous ease and convenience to consumers’ lives.

Although fintech companies are embracing the cloud for growth and scale, challenges such as data protection, security, and regulatory compliance will continue to exist in the near future, according to PwC’s Financial Technology 2020 and Beyond report.

We live in a fast-paced world where people are less conscious of their environment and are more likely to fall into traps that cost them a lot of money. This has become commonplace, and the fact that most activities have migrated online due to Covid-19 has played a significant role in the rise of such fraudulent activities.

In the first half of 2020, the number of fraud attacks was 1.1 billion — twice that of the second half of 2019. The Federal Trade Commission reports that Americans have lost $145 million to COVID-19 fraud. As a result, proving the argument that I want to make, online transactions have certainly made payments easier, but fraudsters have also become more comfortable with different ways to perform fraudulent activities.

With the growth of online sales of goods, we, as responsible people, must be aware of these threats and take effective action.

How do you know if an online transaction is secure?

So, here are a few suggestions that will help you in making secure online transactions.

1.            Prefer credit cards to using your net banking account

Today’s generation is a huge fan of shopping on the internet. The popularity of online payments has skyrocketed, and many people prefer them to physically transact money. While doing so one must ensure one uses credit cards, as credit cards aren’t linked to an individual’s bank account. Rather, a credit card comes with a bill paid by the customer at the end of the month to the bank, and there is a spending limit depending on your credit score.

A debit card, on the other hand, is directly linked to one’s bank account, so if a scammer obtains the information, they can clean out the  entire sum, leaving nothing behind. Thus, when making any online transaction, one should practise using a credit card rather than a debit card to minimise the chances of a big blunder.

2.            Anti-Malware Program

Install one on your computer; it will protect your computer and other digital devices from both — classified and unclassified attacks. You need to ensure that it the program is up to date as these programs detect the virus in your devices in the first instance and warn you or help eradicate the problem from the source, by not letting your device get hacked.

An Anti-Malware program will always act like a safety window between you and the various websites that access your information. Therefore, installing one is essential, as, too, is keeping it updated at all times on a live, auto-update basis, with all updates that come over the air.

3.            Website Reputation

If you don’t know about a website, don’t pay it directly. Payment processing is been provided by various fintechs, which help with safe and secure transactions along with customised solutions towards the modes through which one should make the payment. Thus, checking the credibility of the website along with getting some financial help from some expert can surely help you perform safe transactions. Furthermore, if you practice steps one and two, together, they should help provide a safer outlook towards transactions even when the website isn’t reputed. But stay on guard.

4.            Devices

Another thing that plays a major effect is the device we use to conduct such transactions. You must conduct all transactions through your own devices and not through any third-party or public computers to make sure you’re making a secure online transaction. Because there is no guarantee your information will not get leaked because security protocols and measures might not be completely up to date and adequate on a third-party device. Paying through someone else’s device is nothing short of risky and irresponsible behaviour. It is a healthy habit to not store any details after the transaction, and even on your own device, you must must log out of the banking website and clear passwords; even temp files, if you wish to. One must not let the device remember passwords as it would be an easy ticket to Treasure Island for anyone who comes across the details.

5.            Incase Scenario

If you believe that your credit card has been used fraudulently, you can contact your bank right away & inform them about any online transaction security issues. It is preferable if you report as soon as possible. If the deal is too good to be true, your alarm bells should go off and you should recall any of the points above. Always purchase from a trustworthy seller and always double-check. To secure your credit rating and bank accounts, take online financial transactions and online security seriously. This will give you a leg up on those that don’t put in the same amount of work when it comes to online protection.

5 ways to make better investing decisions at an early stage

I’m writing this for both — the youth of our nation and those people of around our age, who haven’t yet started making smart money choices. This is an attempt to inform and inspire individuals to make better investing decisions, and to share my considered belief that that while even at a later age there is only an upside to starting to invest, it is always better to start early; in fact, the earlier, the better.

Anyone who begins to invest at an early age can stand to reap greater benefit. By investing early, you are part of the financial world, and begin viewing it more broadly. And that awareness and orientation always brings with it a lot of benefits. So if parents or guardians can inculcate in children the excellent practice of saving from an early age, it could lead to a better and more stable future. Because it is parents and guardians of children who are responsible for teaching them about investments and savings. Inexplicably, the education system too does not help instil the savings habit amongst school children at a young age. So it is left to us parents to help every youngster and I’d be delighted if you can take back something from here that that would you empower your child with the importance of having a savings habit, well, that will help have a better, safer future.

So here are five ways you can help educate your dear young ones about how to make better investment decisions at an early stage in life.

  1. Roadmap –

First, map out a plan and what you want to accomplish by participating in this activity. Calculate how much risk you’re willing to take when investing, and since it is money-related, you should always make a calm rather than a hasty decision. One must invest one’s money wisely so that whatever the risk, the investments will reap rewards due to the careful planning.

2. Risk –

When it comes to money, one must obviously be very cautious as there is always an element of risk involved. Risk is an unavoidable and even integral part of investing — the higher the risk, the greater the return on investment. So, after calculating the amount of risk you’re prepared to take — an while setting an example for your young ones, less of risk is the best way to move ahead with your investment strategy.

3. Pick out the Mix of Investments –

As that old adage goes, it is important not to put all the eggs in one basket. One must actively practise dividing one’s money across various investments. As a result, one must be knowledgeable about all types of investments and ensure that the money is not concentrated in a single investment but distributed among many investments based on favourable factors. If anyone is not aware of the risks and needs assistance, they must contact a financial advisor who can assist them in making the best decisions based, of course, on their risk appetite.

4. The Savings Mindset –

The only active way for an individual to make investments is to have a savings mindset. Savings fuelinvestment. Everybody earns an income from whatever they do. However, whether a person spends all their money or spends some and maintains a good savings habit, will determine the extent and quality of investment decisions. Investments help make money with the idle cash that an individual possesses in the form of savings. As a result, each person must develop the habit of first saving, and then using that money to make wise investment decisions.

5. Beware –

Since this whole concept revolves around money and financial matters, please make informed decisions. You, and you alone, are entirely responsible for the whole procedure. Any damages or losses you incur are entirely your responsibility, and not of the mediator or the company concerned. As a result, be wary of frauds, risks, or scams. Keep yourself informed and forewarned about such practises, and also about the business, plus other factors that can impact the business conditions and environment around you.

Start-up Mentorship

Start-Up Mentorship

Today’s entrepreneurs are building start up’s with various motives. A few are starting their own venture to get fame and money, whereas a few are working towards filling a need gap. But the one thing that drives them is an Idea, an Idea that they feel can change the way people perform a certain activity or help improve an already existing product.

We at Aquapay had been through this cycle and know how difficult it is to set up an entrepreneurial venture. Entrepreneurs today come from different backgrounds, age, experience, drive to work, financial capacity, idea generation, etc. Today no two entrepreneurs are going to be the same, even though they might be working towards solving a similar issue. According to me only one concept can help them and that is mentorship.

A few tips to why mentorship is important for start-ups

  1. Knowledge- A mentor upholds great knowledge of the sector in which they help impart their experience. Entrepreneurs can learn from the mistakes that the mentor has made and not repeat them, this helps to form away more informed community.
  2. Knowledge- A mentor upholds great knowledge of the sector in which they help impart their experience. Entrepreneurs can learn from the mistakes that the mentor has made and not repeat them, this helps to form away more informed community.
  3. Knowledge- A mentor upholds great knowledge of the sector in which they help impart their experience. Entrepreneurs can learn from the mistakes that the mentor has made and not repeat them, this helps to form away more informed community.
  4. Knowledge- A mentor upholds great knowledge of the sector in which they help impart their experience. Entrepreneurs can learn from the mistakes that the mentor has made and not repeat them, this helps to form away more informed community.
  5. Knowledge- A mentor upholds great knowledge of the sector in which they help impart their experience. Entrepreneurs can learn from the mistakes that the mentor has made and not repeat them, this helps to form away more informed community.