Ferenc Heiter, Head of Product Development
The European Union’s Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was a treasure trove of development opportunities for the payments and digital banking sector in the EU. As it led to the advancement of secure electronic infrastructure in open banking services, the digital banking sector began to invest in the further expansion of online banking to direct as many off-line customer contacts as possible to online channels. In doing so, banks and financial institutions faced the added challenge of seamlessly implementing online administration of features such as loan applications, customer profiling, scoring, assessment, and disbursement in existing IT banking services and the development of new applications. Moreover, they needed to direct bank notifications, contracts, and off-line communication exclusively to encrypted online channels for added security.
Amid these compelling challenges, Cardinal Ltd., (www.cardinal.hu) a market-leading company in digital banking in Hungary, stepped up to the plate. “We have been developing electronic banking applications and document management systems for more than 25 years,” says Ferenc Heiter, Head of Product Development in Cardinal. “The state-of-the-art technologies that we use, enable secure electronic banking between banks and their customers.” With in-depth professional knowledge of merchant banking transactional operations and the bank-customer relationship, Cardinal has developed three product brands: CRAFT, ELECTRA, and ViCA. Cardinal designed CRAFT, workflow-based document management and archiving system to support the maintenance of documents and records in the business processes of financial institutions in a fully electronic and automated process.
ELECTRA is the umbrella name for a group of Cardinal’s different electronic channels or UIs such as the web-based UI, Electra Internet Banking, or the installed, thick UI, Electra Client Terminal, and more. Additionally, there are downloadable ELECTRA mobile apps on Google Play and App Store, where each bank publishes its own unique mobile app with respective app name, design, and services.
The Electra ecosystem serves as an application family where different electronic channels support each other and form an integrated system implementing seamless electronic banking for customers 24/7/360
Cardinal’s Electra openAPI is engineered for the banks’ open banking platforms, regulated by the European PSD2 Directive and the supplementary regulation of technical standards by the European Bank Association, EBA/RTS. The high customizability of the Electra ecosystem’s elements allows Electra banking channels to serve all customer segments of the bank, whether it be retail, SME and wholesale, as one system, even with different functionality and design per segment. “The Electra ecosystem serves as an application family where different electronic channels support each other and form an integrated system implementing seamless electronic banking for customers 24/7/360,” says Heiter.
Electra is not an “off-the-shelf ”, plug-and-play product – its implementation into the banks’ running architectural environment is its components’ unique ability to adapt to the existing interfaces of bank services. “Electra is a white label application and each bank gets to decide on the menu structure, the image of their own Electra internet banking, mobile app, or the installed Electra client program,” says Heiter.
ViCA is Cardinal’s public key infrastructure based virtual chipcard application that allows strong customer authentication in login procedure and multiple signing of orders and requests towards the back ends. ViCA enables secure remote SCA of bank customers on mobile devices as a downloadable app. It supports the two-factor, strong client authentication (SCA) requirements of the EU’s PSD2 Directive and its Regulatory Technical Standard (EBA-RTS) on Android, iOS and Windows10 operating platforms. By deploying its push messaging service, banks can send instant notifications to their customers about their orders, account transactions, or promotional campaigns.
As a result of major developments in 2020, all Electra channels are able to handle the initiation and reception of instant payment orders. Going forward, Cardinal’s focus is on making technological advancements for Electra Pay and Electra TPP. Geographically, the company has already delivered some of its products in CEE countries like Slovakia. Cardinal is also currently in the bidding phase with Electra and ViCA for two Romanian banks. “Our goal is to utilize our banking IT experience, gained in the Hungarian market so far, in the CEE financial services sector,” concludes Heiter.