The benefits of a smartcard-free payments process 


In a fast-moving payments landscape, companies are constantly seeking more efficient and secure solutions for their payment.


Smartcards have their pros but are not so smart when it comes to processing Bacs payments. They can be vulnerable to physical attacks, such as tampering or cloning, which compromise their security and as they need to be physically at your fingertips to be useful, mislaying your card can leave you unable to sign your payments. With this in mind, many businesses are taking the step to migrate to cloud-based solutions and Hardware Security Modules (HSMs).  


This blog looks at the benefits of smartcard-free payments and a move to HSM. 



Smartcard-free for enhanced security


Moving to the cloud offers robust security including data encryption and secure access. By moving sensitive payment data to the cloud, businesses can rest assured that their systems are continuously up-to-date and data is managed in a way that meets regulatory requirements. 


With tamper-proof protection, HSM provides one of the highest levels of security against external threats. HSM, or Hardware Security Module, can be provided as a physical computing device or hosted as-a-service, safeguarding and managing digital keys, performing encryption and decryption functions for digital signatures. It uses algorithms to encrypt data to offer an increased level of security and are used specifically to protect sensitive data. Providing a highly secure, tamper proof method of securely sign your files, HSM works like a card chip and pin. 


In order to use HSM for your Bacs submission, you will need to obtain an HSM certificate from your sponsoring bank. This is stored on the HSM. Once connected to your Bacs approved software, it allows you to sign payment submissions simply, securely and without the need for any smartcards. 



Anytime, anywhere signing


Cloud-based signing such as HSM-as-a-service provides businesses an enhanced experience with access from any location. With a cloud based HSM, payments are available anytime, anywhere making remote working instantly easier and more secure. 


This can help you save costs and reduce the overhead of managing physical HSMs, while still ensuring the security and reliability of your sensitive data. HSM-as-a-service is a very cost effective solution, particularly if you have a lot of smartcard users. Users can perform transactions, complete signing and also verify their identity seamlessly without the need to carry physical smartcards.  


Whether a business needs to support hundreds or millions of users, HSMs can scale accordingly 



Cost savings 


Migrating from physical smartcards to cloud-based HSMs can achieve massive cost savings for businesses. Upfront costs for the physical hardware and maintenance costs are eliminated and systems can be upscaled as and when required.   



Guaranteed compliance 


Providing a secure environment for storing and processing sensitive data, HSMs help ensure that data is managed in a way that meets regulatory requirements. Bacs approved software providers maintain compliance certifications, such as ISO 27001, ensuring that data is handled in accordance with industry standards and regulations. 



The key to automation 



HSM is the key to streamlining your payment procedures with automation. Using an HSM allows you to explore the benefits of automating your routine payment tasks to save time and improve efficiency. Processes such as file import, bank data validation, signing, approval and submission can all be safely handled by an automatic process. And if your internal processes change, automation workflows can be swiftly and easily edited, keeping you in control. 





Transitioning from smartcards to the cloud and HSMs represents a significant leap for businesses security, user experience, reliability and cost-effectiveness. MSP Secretaries embraced such a move and took a crucial step towards a secure and agile future. For more information on HSM, read our guide to HSM. 


To discuss how HSM can bolster your payment security and business efficiency, contact our Bacs expert team.




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