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Payments & More - Allyiz Show
Episode 5: SCA / Diversity in Payments | Catherine Tong

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Tune in to this episode of the Payments & More podcast with host Nico as he chats with payment professionals about their business journeys and lessons learned. Don’t miss out on the stories and perspectives they share that will shed light on what’s hot in the payment space. Today’s guest is Catherine Tong, who has 20 years of experience in e-commerce risk and fraud. Nico and Catherine will discuss her tips for merchants, the situation of women in the payments sector and Catherine’s best kept personal secrets.

To begin, Nico asks Catherine about her early days at Tesco. She explains that she began her career there at the beginning of the financial crisis and the project she was hired to take on was defunded because of the crisis. Luckily, the people at Tesco knew she had a background in fraud. She was able to switch positions and work on e-commerce fraud within Tesco, and thus began her long career in the industry. She says that even when new security is introduced, she knows she’ll continue to have a job because fraudsters are innovative and seek to subvert new security.


Then, Nico asks Catherine to express her opinion on Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). Unequivocally, Catherine says SCA is a good thing. For issuers, she says it’s a competitive edge they can acquire to achieve “top of wallet” status. From a PSP perspective SCA ensures they’re passing along the right data and flags to optimize transactions being authorized. It also gives insight into the exemptions being applied, and what version of authentication is best for specific merchants. Merchants were a bit wary in the beginning, but SCA is allowing them to monitor their exemption rates, and it’s becoming a competitive advantage for them as well as the issuer.


Catherine has been in the industry for the past 20 years, and one of the things she’s seen changed is the balance of gender representations, but she says there is still room for improvement in diversity. Many women don’t feel like there are female mentors or role models readily available to them, which is why Catherine has engaged in building up networking groups, like European Women Payments Network (EWPN) for women to connect with one another.  The industry is doing well in encouraging women into the field.


The episode draws to a close on a personal note. Catherine shares her story of meeting Richard Branson on the ski slopes when she was learning to ski, he and his children became her crash barrier. Luckily no one was hurt except Catherine’s pride. She also reveals how a failure at university helped her recognize the importance of focus.


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0:38 - Catherine Tong is introduced

1:30 - Catherine welcomed on

2:30 - Early days at Tesco

6:50 - Nico asks Catherine her opinion on SCA

17:43 - What would Catherine say to merchants about SCA

19:45 - Women in payments

26:23 - Catherine shares a few personal anecdotes



About Catherine Tong

Catherine, co-founder and Partner at Allyiz is a proficient Global Fraud Expert with over 20 years’ experience in risk and fraud across multiple industries, from retail, airlines, travel to digital. She obtained a breadth of experience from different perspectives as a consultant, merchant and vendor at each of PwC, Tesco and Accertify. This experience has ranged from accounting fraud to payment fraud and general losses in eCommerce, identifying, managing and mitigating risks to drive success. For example: setting up a new fraud team and processes, running and participating in RFPs for new vendors to deliver fraud strategy, health checks for client fraud and risk strategies, risk reviews and risk mitigation plans, leading teams of fraud professionals. She is a Certified Accountant Fellow, has a degree of the University of Exeter in Managerial Statistics, Six Sigma Blackbelt, and graduated at the Harvard Business School Leadership Excellence. She is also a UK co-Ambassador for the EWPN (European Women in Payments Network). 


Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn.



About European Women Payments Network (EWPN)

EWPN is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to building a community for women in cards, fintech & payments in Europe. As the first and only Pan-European community for women, EWPN strives to create more opportunities for women and minorities, as well as being a champion for a more diverse and inclusive industry for all. EWPN does this by organising local networking evenings, workshops, annual events, awards and research, which all are welcome to be involved in.


Connect with EWPN on LinkedIn



About Allyiz

Allyiz (pronounced allies) is the “go-to” company for payments experts for businesses who want to source knowledge, time or people. Allyiz distinguishes ourselves from consultancies by bringing the expertise and experience of professionals who have successfully run the function on the business side and have done it well many times. We run short projects and deliver actionable results.


Connect with Allyiz on LinkedIn  or at



Email Allyiz or leave us your comment on LinkedIn on what questions you’d like answered, suggestions on people to interview, or any other thoughts you have!

Payments & MoreEpisode 5
00:00 / 01:04
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