Risk & Compliance – the gatekeepers of PayFast

A PayFast Risk & Compliance team member working on her laptop

At the heart of PayFast is its people; the people who work behind the scenes to make sure that our online payment processing solution meets all of our merchants and their customers expectations. Following on from our Customer Services and Development blogs, in this third instalment of our ‘behind the scenes’ series we are showcasing what our Risk & Compliance team, which forms part of our Financial Operations Department, does to mitigate fraudulent payment activity.

Our Financial Operations Department plays a vital role in the daily operations of PayFast as they are responsible for overseeing and managing all payments processed on the PayFast engine. To ensure processes are carried out as efficiently as possible, the department is divided into two teams: Risk & Compliance and Processing. In this blog we’ll focus on the important work that the Risk & Compliance team does, and in a future blog we’ll examine what the Processing team does.  

The Risk & Compliance team consists of experienced individuals whose main focus is identifying and preventing fraud. This is a two-pronged operation that’s accomplished by monitoring high-risk transactions and cancelling them from further processing, and reviewing our merchant’s online businesses to ensure they adhere to regulatory compliance. 

A robust training programme 

Every Risk & Compliance team member has a financial background that’s specific to the physical retail and ecommerce space. Their experience in dealing with risk, fraud, investigations and compliance is what makes them the perfect candidates for joining the PayFast Risk & Compliance team.

When a new member joins the team they undergo classroom training in conjunction with shadowing experienced team members. Some of the important job aspects that their training covers include risk & compliance management across various payment methods; payment and documentation scrutiny; fraud flags; high-risk industries; merchant and buyer vetting; and historic fraud case studies.

New trainees get unlimited support and side-by-side guidance to ensure they progress adequately and understand the why in what the team does.

Identifying and evaluating risk 

Everyday one of the main priorities for the Risk & Compliance team is to ensure that payments made to our merchants aren’t fraudulent, and that buyers aren’t paying fraudulent merchants. This process involves verifying transactions, reviewing the merchant’s verification documents – which were uploaded when they registered their PayFast account, reviewing their online business’ URL as well as the personal information of the buyer and the seller. The fraud review process requires an excellent eye for detail as it’s vital to protecting our merchants and their customers. To aid with this process, the team has a dedicated Fraud Risk Investigator with deep knowledge of the payments industry.

When fraudulent activity is reported to our Customer Services Department, the Risk & Compliance team steps in to review the emails and manage blacklisted PayFast accounts. A thorough investigation then ensues to confirm any suspicious activity.

Facilitating secure payouts 

The Risk & Compliance team also plays an important role in facilitating payouts, the process where PayFast merchants request the funds in their PayFast wallet to be transferred into their South African bank account. When payouts are requested it’s the team’s responsibility to ensure there’s no fraudulent activity and process the payment so it reflects within the merchant’s bank account within 48 hours.  

Ensuring regulatory compliance

When new merchants sign up for a PayFast account, as part of the verification process the Customer Services team liaises with the Risk & Compliance team to ensure they aren’t involved in any illicit activities. This entails the team reviewing the relevant documentation and business websites to ensure that no prohibited products are being sold, such as pharmaceuticals, cannabis, tobacco products, gambling and stokvel. 

A unified team dedicated to giving it their all 

What makes the Risk & Compliance team work so effectively together is their open communication and their willingness to support and assist one another with any task at hand. Everyone understands their roles and responsibilities as well as the team goals, and constantly discuss improvements and how they can implement new processors to prevent, minimise and mitigate criminal activities related to fraud.  

While they always strive for productivity, the dynamic team also understands the importance of a good work-life balance. They often make an effort to socialise outside the PayFast office, even if it’s just having a team lunch on the picnic benches outside in the fresh air.  

If you are interested in growing your career with South Africa’s most recognised online payment gateway, then send your CV to jobs@payfast.co.za to find out more about starting your PayFast journey.  

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