Macking vs MACing…who knew transaction monitoring could be so romantic?

When I started to write this blog on Valentine’s Day, I started by asking myself, “What is romantic about transaction monitoring and analytics?”

Well, for all the spins I could have taken on the subject, it will take most banks and payment processors more than a cute baby with sprouted wings and a wicked aim to get to the heart of consumer transaction issues in a timely manner. But did that make falling in love with your transaction data interesting?

Stumped, I wondered into our coffee room, just in time to overhear a few of our junior staff discussing a recent “macking error”.

Being a 40 year old marketing elder, and being fully oblivious of new urban dictionary entries, I saw this as a welcome chance to connect with our junior staff…And knowing a thing or two about “MACing errors”, I thought I could enlighten them and fit right into the flow of their conversation.

Not quite.

You see, Message Authentication Code errors in the banking transaction world are also known as “MACing errors”.  A Message Authentication Code is a “token” that can be included within a transaction message as it moves from, and comes back to, an ATM or POS.  Sometimes the switch host expects a certain token from an ATM and gets a different token.  Should a transaction message sent not match a message received identically, a MAC error occurs. The ATM then sends a specific response code (such as MAC Error 86 or MAC Synch Error 88) that indicates a MAC error.

MACing error notifications are common alerts set up by INETCO Insight customers, as they may indicate problems with the ATM or possible fraudulent behaviour at an ATM. INETCO Insight captures and analyzes real-time transaction data off the network.  This means if a criminal tries to intercept and alter messages traveling through an ATM network, INETCO Insight can alert you to the MAC error produced in real-time to prevent this “man-in-the-middle” attack, as well as let you know from where the attack originated. Real-time notification of MAC errors is proven to improve problem isolation, decrease the number of failed customer interactions and decrease the number of reported incidents and service dispatches for lost communications.

Now how is that for falling in love with your transaction data?  That’s enough about this topic today.  I suggest it’s time to put down your computer, and go mack out.  Happy Valentine’s day to all!