American Express launches SafeKey in South Africa

American Express has announced the availability of its 3-D Secure authentication tool SafeKey in South Africa, intended to improve the security of online transactions.

The company first launched SafeKey in 2010, but has now made it available to all its e-commerce markets, allowing more secure transactions through authentication of the American Express cardholder at the time he or she effects payment for e-commerce purchases.

American Express has been pre-enrolling its South African card member base to avoid disruption and inconvenience, with SafeKey available as of October 20.

SafeKey involves no transaction-related costs for PSPs or merchants, with American Express saying the implementation of SafeKey could result in an increase in transaction volumes due to both local and international American Express Card acceptance by merchants.

The company also says transaction security will see significant improvement, enhancing the e-commerce value proposition for current and new merchants.

“Because of the added integration, SafeKey enrolment should increase merchant loyalty and stickiness,” said Mzwandile Mncameni, head of American Express Merchant Sales & Service.

In order to participate in Safekey, merchants need to integrate with a payment gateway’s “Merchant Plug-In (MPI)”, which incorporates cardholder validation functionality and allows them to communicate with American Express’s SafeKey authentication servers.

Cape Town-based online payment gateway provider MyGate says it plans to go live with SafeKey in the first quarter of next year.

 “South Africans are increasingly embracing online shopping as a more convenient way of purchasing goods, with e-commerce transactions growing each year. Safekey adds another level of security for American Express cardholders strengthening the trust for merchants to accept this card brand online,” said Dan Edmiston, managing director of MyGate.

 “If South Africa is to see greater growth in the e-commerce market, online retailers need to address this issue of trust,” he added.

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