At Identity Week Asia, Payments Consulting Network Technical Director, David Lunt caught up with MineSec Managing Director, Jean-Luc Khaou, for a deep dive into SoftPOS and how MineSec is supporting the enablement of digital payments for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs).
Read the highlights of the interview below.
DL: Can you please describe how MineSec helps SMBs accept digital payments?
JLK: MineSec is an innovation enabler that accelerates access to digital payment technology for all SMB merchants. We help customers jumpstart their SoftPOS payment innovation and grow their business by converting smartphones to contactless payment acceptance devices. With our white-label SoftPOS solution, MineSec enables Digital Payment Inclusion for SMB merchants looking for more support to accept electronic payments as cash use fades.
MineSec SoftPOS solution converts any smartphone to a payment Point Of Sale and complies with stringent international security standards. The solution comprises a Software Development Kit (SDK) and an Attestation & Monitoring (A&M) server, also called Know-Your-Device (KYD) server. The SDK provides Contactless Kernels, security protections, and APIs for customers to develop their own SoftPOS applications. The A&M server checks the security exposure of the application and device.
With our team based in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, we support all our customers across Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
DL: What payments services do you offer your target merchants?
JLK: We offer a way for SMBs to accept contactless payments without the traditional hardware and its related implementation costs. Payments are increasingly going contactless and digital, but many SMB merchants are excluded from the current contactless payments wave. They lack support from Payment Service Providers (PSP) who see lower returns for their implementation efforts and hardware cost to onboard small and medium business merchants.
SoftPOS allows merchants to accept digital payments by converting smartphones into POS terminals. They can simply download a SoftPOS app to complete the mobile onboarding process and start accepting contactless payments.
With MineSec SoftPOS solution, PSPs can now capture the market that they have been leaving behind – offering merchants omnichannel payment services cost-effectively and flexibly for both PSPs and merchants.
Our solution has all payment kernels (Visa, MasterCard, Amex, UPI, Discover, and JCB) and QR code payment solutions integrated, enabling MineSec to be currently activated in over 10 countries in Asia, Middle-East and Europe where merchant SoftPOS applications are powered by MineSec technology.
DL: Are there any industry sectors or client types that you focus on?
JLK: We work with FinTech, PSPs and POS vendors of all types. Some want full control of their solution, whereas others just want a ready-to-go white-label solution for fast market access.
MineSec solution is agnostic to industry sectors and can be used by SMBs in brick-and-mortar shops, restaurants, delivery, event, and transportation services.
DL: What do you see as the key strengths of MineSec’s services?
JLK: We also want to simplify the SMB’s journey to access contactless payment and offer a solution that is easier and more modular to deploy. MineSec will keep enriching our products horizontally and vertically. We have recently announced the integration of KYC/KYB services from a technology partner to enhance identity security for a more seamless onboarding process for merchants.
We are unique in how open and modular our solution architecture is – allowing our customers to have many choices in configuring their bespoke SoftPOS solution.
Finally, MineSec features a comprehensive back-end SaaS solution that offers PSPs all the necessary cloud-based platforms to operate and monitor devices, merchants, and transactions.
DL: How do you differentiate MineSec from other softPOS providers?
JLK: In addition to the advanced SoftPOS solution we offer to the market, we have gained tremendous trust from our customers, thanks to the credibility of our in-house experts. Customers rely on MineSec to get certifications and effectively deploy their SoftPOS services.
What makes us different also is how our A&M server is designed to provide a Know-Your-Device security service. We implemented configurable business rules to adapt to country-specific requirements so that PSP can be meeting the needs of their merchants in any country they operate.
DL: What key achievements over the last 12 months can you share?
JLK: MineSec was incorporated in May 2020. During the first 6 months, we focussed on the development of the MVP, create our value proposition, and then convinced our first customer to deploy our solution.
We have invested all our efforts in the product, ensuring that we acquire all the mandatory certifications for our solution rollout and to gain more customers. So in 2021, we signed on to 6 new customer projects and had the first production deployment in Hong Kong.
As of today, we are certified by PCI, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and UnionPay to use MineSec white-label SDK in their networks. We also have 7 direct customers and 5 indirect customers. Indirect customers are users of MineSec solutions in countries where our direct customers have sold their solution as white-label, powered by MineSec SDK. By end of 2022, thousands of merchants will be using SoftPOS powered by MineHades SDK and MineZeus KYD services.
DL: Looking ahead, what service innovations are you implementing in the next 12 months?
JLK: We are working with technology partners to integrate KYC/KYB services or other innovative payment acceptance solutions such as cryptocurrency. Our objective is to bring services to SMBs that will enable them to increase their revenues and flexibility in payment acceptance.
DL: What key SMB industry trends do you see occurring over the next 2-3 years?
JLK: While developing our business based on growth projections, it was also surprising to learn, from SMBs and partners in the market, that the focus of SMBs is to adapt very quickly to the uncertain future. If they have an opportunity to grow and scale up, they need a solution that allows them to catch that opportunity and do it very quickly. And if they need to scale down, they must be able to do it, again very quickly, without incurring liabilities and costs without any income. When we were looking at the millions of commercial merchants in Asia, most of them hold very low inventories and expect their suppliers to be as flexible as them to answer the consumers’ demands. This will remain the trend of the economy in the next 2-3 years. MineSec, as well as our customers and stakeholders in the eco-system, should be designing solutions and services that can be as flexible. SMBs will benefit from having solutions that allow swift scale up and down – paying only as much as they use.
I am convinced that this can only be done with a digital solution like MineSec SoftPOS solution. The new digital economy will be the web3.0 economy where buyers and sellers can interact instantly, securely, efficiently, and without any intermediary.
DL – What key criteria or features should a SMB consider when evaluating payment service providers?
As an SMB, they should be working with PSPs which provide flexible services that facilitates merchant digital onboarding and service activation.
MineSec Limited exhibited at Identity Week Asia 2022 while David Lunt moderated the panel ‘Panel: Securing online payments through robust ID’. Identity Week is a conference and exhibition that brought together the brightest minds in the identity sector to promote innovation, new thinking, and more effective identity solutions.
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