China’s social scoring system takes the idea of credit vetting to another level

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chinasocialcredit

Picture credit: Kevin Hong

Your credit score makes up a significant part of the whole when it comes to your social status – something we at pbVerify value, and use to promote sound decision making.

 

As SA’s leading credit data bureau, pbVerify knows how important it is – for businesses and consumers alike – to be familiar with their credit history, and well aware of their current credit status. There are good reasons for providing access to credit score information, all of which are aimed at promoting financial health and good business decisions.

The same beneficial system, however, has seemingly seen a more sinister twist, with the well-publicised move by the Chinese government to take it to a whole new level – one that instils fear, rather than protecting the people it is in place for.

We all know about social status and, whether we like to admit it or not, it is important to us. Nowadays we use social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat to project a certain idea about ourselves to the world around us – a feature these platforms refer to as a user’s “Status”.

pbVerify specialises in one of the most influential aspects or “scores” that make up a personal status – your credit score. While most consumers are all too familiar with what a credit score means, the implications of a negative score and the importance of knowing your score, the system the Chinese government plans to implement over the next few years, in which every citizen is tagged with a social score, sounds like the makings of a science fiction novel.

China’s Social Credit System (SCS), whereby the government plans to rank its citizens based on their social credit, is due to be implemented in full by 2020, although its wheels are already well in motion. It basically allocates each citizen a social score card based on – among other things – their credit history, behaviour, philanthropic contributions and even outlook on life and events. The government will garner this information based on citizens’ accounts and network activities.

Going forward, this social credit score will be used to rank citizens and reward – or punish – them accordingly. Some of the implications include travel bans, exclusion from top schools (for kids of parents with low credit scores) and from certain jobs, slow internet connection, exclusion from hotels, and even registration on a public blacklist.

In development for some time already (reportedly conceived around 2014 in its current form) and set in motion in earnest in late 2018, China’s SCS has already seen millions of Chinese citizens prohibited from travelling, with a reported 1.75 million air ticket purchases, and 5.5 million train ticket purchases denied last year.

While China claims its aim with the SCS is to enhance trust and social stability by creating a “culture of sincerity”, most are less optimistic about the system’s ultimate goal, with many referring to it as an Orwellian Dystopia, and calling it “nightmarish”.

The jury is sure to be out on this one for some time, at least as far as the general public goes. If nothing else conclusive for now, it does go to show the weight social scores – or statuses – can hold.

We are all about empowerment

At pbVerify, we pride ourselves in providing a service that is accessible, easy to use – and above all, beneficial to our customers. Our focus is on empowering our customers every step of the way, by imparting knowledge that enables sound, intelligent financial decisions.

We constantly strive to put the power squarely in the hands of local businesses, to enable them to quickly and comprehensively make informed decisions with regard to the customers they onboard.

To this end, we recently bolstered our TransUnion Business Report with Quick Vet 4 Business (QV4B) – an instant online tool that enables credit vetting decisions in a matter of seconds.

Granting credit to new customers does not need to be a long, complicated process. Read HERE for more on how QV4B can speed up your business’s decision making and credit granting processes, giving you more time to attend to the things that matter most.

For more information or to speak to a pbVerify consultant call 010 300 4898 or email support@pbverify.co.za.

[REFERENCES]

  1. Wikipedia – Social credit system
  2. ABC Australia – China uses social credit surveillance system to ban millions from buying plane and train tickets
  3. Opploans – For people with bad credit, China’s ‘Social Credit’ scores sound like an actual nightmare
  4. Wired – Big Data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens
  5. Wired – The complicated truth about China’s social credit system
  6. pbVerify Blog – pbVerify bolsters credit risk management portfolio
  7. TransUnion – Quick Vet 4 Business

 

To renovate, or not to renovate – is that even a question?

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pbartisan renovations picRenovations aren’t easy, yet so many people insist on going through the process…There are good reasons why.

Like moving house, renovating a home is not easy – in fact it can be downright disruptive and stressful. So why do so many people put themselves through it? And why is the trend of home renovation growing in popularity, among young and old alike? The answer is simple: the benefits by far outweigh any inconvenience homemakers need to temporarily endure.

Pam Golding Properties manager Jonathan Davies says there is a strong argument for investing in alterations to a home. “These are likely to add value to what is the largest investment you are ever likely to make. With careful planning, developing a well-situated property over time can make sound financial sense, as it optimises the investment, resulting in improved property prices. There is also much one can do to improve one’s property that does not require a massive outlay in financial resources,” says Davies.

Besides the obvious benefit of adding monetary value to a home, there are a number of other reasons that make renovations such a popular option. South Africans in particular, are keen renovators. They will jump at any given opportunity to extend, redesign, redecorate or just relatively improve their living space.

And it’s no wonder, given the outdoor and sunshine bonanza we enjoy as a country, the world is really our oyster when it comes to making our homes beautiful. On top of that, a house is most likely the single biggest investment you will ever make, and any improvements you make on your biggest investment, equal both further future investment and immediate benefit.

Some of the immediate and short-term benefits include an enhancement of comfort and enjoyment for you and your family, experiencing a fresh new environment (they say change is as good as a holiday), pride in your place of abode when friends and family visit, and the satisfaction of knowing your home is your home, in every way – one that you envisioned, planned and created yourself. Renovations give you the opportunity to literally make your dreams come true.

Of course, it does not stop there. There are also the longer-term, financial rewards that come with renovating your home. If your property is an investment property that you are renting or want to rent out, you will be able to get far better returns.

If, on the other hand, you are there to stay, not only do renovations mean you can avoid the lengthy and stressful process of house hunting, making an offer to purchase, getting finance and, finally, uprooting to a new home, but they mean absolute peace of mind in the home you have, and plan to keep.

Make your dreams a reality

pbArtisan, PBSA’s renovation, maintenance & development division, burst onto the property scene in 2018, with a vision of revolutionising the market through its fresh, professional and bold approach of bringing white collar services to a blue collar industry.

Specialising in building maintenance, residential and commercial renovations, additions and new buildings, our team of professional, highly skilled artisans are passionate about taking homemakers’ dreams and making them a reality.

Our graphic designers bring your ideas to life with beautiful interior and exterior 3D drawings of your project. This allows you to personally plan the end-product upfront, in as much detail as you wish. You can come up with your own colour schemes, tiles, wall and ceiling finishes or any interior and exterior design you have in mind, and our team will detail your vision.

Best of all, is our pledge to you, our valued customer – all our workmanship is 100% guaranteed.

Why wait? If you would like to make the house you live in a home, contact us.Visit www.pbartisan.co.za or call us on 010 300 4892.

pbArtisan is a registered home builder with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) in terms of the the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, 1998 (Act No.95 of 1998).

REFERENCES

  1. Forbes – New Study Shows How Much Millennials Are Spending On Home Renovation
  2. Statista – Home Improvement – Statistics & Facts
  3. BusinessTech – Should you invest in renovating your home?
  4. Property24 – Top 10 reasons to renovate your home

Healthcare – revolutionising an industry through digital

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digitising healthcare with logoDespite all the fear and uncertainty surrounding data security in a digital world, the health industry has more to gain that it will ever have to lose from digitalisation.

The emergence of new privacy laws – international, local and industry specific – in an era of digital business and record management, has many companies quaking in their boots when it comes to the issue of data security.

One of the industries perhaps most touched by the concern over sensitive data, is the healthcare industry and, although digitisation can sound scary, there are so many more benefits than there are risks for this specific industry – and at the top of the advantages list, is increased security.

Independent research on paper document security by the Ponemon Institute found that not only is there a greater risk of loss that comes with going the paper route – rather than digital – but paper processes also make it far more difficult for companies to prepare for audits, share information securely and cut down on costs.

“There are not enough resources available to protect confidential paper documents. Sixty-one percent of individuals surveyed report that there are not enough resources and controls available to secure paper documents containing sensitive or confidential information,” reports Ponemon.

Digital Dawn

And, while times may change, paper processes do not. The fact remains – paper and manual document and data processes will always require more time and money, and be more prone to human error and other inevitable risks that come with physical handling, duplication and the sending back and forth of documents.

Fortunately, where resources do change, is in the digital realm. Today, digitalisation is not only a reality – it is the only way to go for institutions that value the security of their data as highly as law – and good sense – dictate.

Digitising processes, including storing and maintaining medical records, registration, exam requests and prescriptions, among others, can only bolster the security of data, and therefore the protection of all parties involved in medical processes, including patients, physicians, hospitals, laboratories and medical finance institutions.

The SigniFlow solution was developed precisely for this type of application. Instead of limiting functionality and dictating how entities and organisations should use their systems, SigniFlow offers total flexibility, allowing integration with a host of business applications so companies can go digital their way, with as little disruption as possible.

The best part, coming back to the thorny issue of data security, is that our encrypted solution is fully compliant with all security and privacy standards, including security requirements imposed by internal policies, industry, national and international laws.

Serious Security

SigniFlow is compatible with different enterprise resource planning (ERP) and hospital management systems, such as Phillips Tasy, MV and Benner, allowing entities and organisations to take advantage of investments already made, without the impact a change of system and infrastructure can have.

Our software platform enables the digitisation of processes such as patient check in, onboarding, medical records, requests for examinations and procedures, prescriptions and many more medical processes. At the same time, the SigniFlow solution uses different authentication methods to guarantee the identity of the parties involved, and to apply electronic signatures sealed by a digital certificate.

What’s more, SigniFlow allows users with their own certificates to use these, thereby enforcing compliance with regulations such as eIDAS, eSign, ICP Brasil, HIPPA, and many others, ensuring the authenticity, integrity and non-repudiation required to legally validate the relevant documents anywhere in the world.

For customers that require a higher level of identity assurance, we can also implement different authentication methods, such as witness signatures, photo capturing or biometrics, at the time of signing.

Big Benefits

So, in a nutshell, what are the real and immediate benefits of digitising processes in the healthcare industry?

Well, in addition to a considerable reduction in the costs associated with paper processes, going digital with SigniFlow can:

  • Decrease time of registration and admission of patients
  • Reduce waiting time for insurance approvals
  • Reduce financial loss resulting from misplaced original paper contracts related to payments for hospitals and insurance
  • Eliminate prescription forgery and health insurance fraud
  • Increase efficiency when it comes to access to patients’ medical history
  • Centralise information, allowing it to be shared with the relevant party (such as other hospitals, experts, health insurance, laboratories & pharmacies) in a matter of seconds

And the above are just some of the many benefits that come from integrating with our platform to digitise processes.

For patients, it means faster and more efficient healthcare. It means faster processes – which in turn means a quicker diagnosis.

For more information visit www.signiflow.com or call us on 010 300 4898.

REFERENCES

  1. Ponemon Institute: Security of Paper Documents in the Workplace
  2. Crypto ID: Benefícios da digitalização de processos na Indústria de Saúde