Tuesday, April 26, 2016

News: Gala Tent eliminates fraud with SOTpay

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Rotherham-based Gala Tent, the UK's leading distributor of marquees and gazebos, has eliminated fraudulent telephone transactions using SOTpay - a system developed in-house.

Founded in 1999, Gala Tent has grown to sell over 15,000 tents and marquees each year, along with around 100,000 event accessories and furniture products. It grew from a table top operation in Grimethorpe to a company with a turnover of £10m having moved into new 53,000 sq ft headquarters at Fairfield Park in Manvers in 2011.

Entrepreneurial founder and managing director of Gala Tent, Jason Mace, has spent nearly two years carefully developing and refining a unique Secure Order Transfer payment system, after his own business fell victim to fraudsters in 2014. Chargeback or "friendly" fraud sees merchants rather than the banks left accountable when fraudsters request a chargeback from the banks having received goods ordered online. After spending time looking for existing systems to help reduce his company risk to telephone fraud, jason realised there wasn't a suitable system available, so he invested in developing one.

During the past two years, Gala Technology has invested in the development of SOTpay, a unique payment transfer system which uses a series of rigorous card and customer checks to prevent fraudulent transactions from taking place.

The Manvers-based team developed the system in-house which allows orders to be taken over the phone confidently and safely, meaning that consumers are at a lower risk of their cards being used fraudulently. It works by allowing the customer to complete payment processes online, using a unique reference number and URL provided by the telephone sales representative. Confirmation that the payment has passed security checks is then sent back to the secure server, where it is stored anonymously along with the reference number and the telephone sales representative is then able to confirm that payment has been authorised.

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The technology has been meticulously trialled and tested and uses 128bit encryption to produce a safe, secure environment which is fully compliant with the PCI Security Standards Council, offering a similar level of security found amongst banks.

Since launching the system it has eliminated 100% of Gala Tent's own fraudulent telephone transactions, and following a successful trial period, the technology is now being rolled out to help other businesses combat telephone fraud.

Jason Mace, founder of Gala Tent, said: "Telephone fraud is one of the single largest threats to almost every business and can not only result in lost sales and revenue, but can also result in substantial fines if customer details are not protected securely.

"SOTpay elminates this problem by creating a secure environment which allows a telephone transaction to be undertaken safely. Fraud is one of the single largest threats to almost every business and telephone fraud accounts for nearly one in seven of fraudulent transactions in the UK. At Gala Tent 70% of our business is conducted over the telephone, which placed a considerable and unnecessary risk on the company.

"One of the main advantages offered by SOTpay is its flexibility. The technology provides protection to almost every type of business from a sole trader to a call centre environment, whilst crucially helping businesses to remain fully PCI DSS Compliant. We believe the technology could help to eliminate telephone telephone fraud and has the capability of not only benefitting businesses in the UK, but globally."

SOTpay has already gained national acclaim, winning the prestigious UKIT - Security Innovation of the Year award, beating competition from high profile IT companies including: BT, Firehost and Random Storm.

Richard Jownally, fraud investigator at HSBC, said: "Fraud is an issue which can strike any business at any time but SOTpay is a fiendishly simple and effective way of helping businesses to reduce their risk. The technology works by using a secure 3D payment gateway which not only helps to deter fraudsters, but also protects the merchant.

"The technology makes it difficult for commonly used types of fraud to take place, helping to deter fraudsters whilst providing businesses with an added layer of security. I wish it was my idea!"

SOTPay website
Gala Tent website

Images: SOTpay

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