As COVID-19 began spreading throughout the world, Level5 was working with a Latin American country who decided that in order to convey assistance to their citizens, they wanted to send out pre-paid debit cards that ran directly through the country’s banking system, instead of issuing paper checks.
The country was not integrated into the private sector to be able to process transactions directly without the private banking system.
We worked with a merchant bank to setup the process with the country’s banking system and then connected nearly every local and national grocery store chain back to their system to enable the processing of these transactions. We still had many compliance requirements such as PCI to contend with, so all the data had to be secured properly, made transparent for reporting, and work in almost real-time just as any other credit card transaction. Following completion of our work, the country deployed over 250,000 cards in the first week of its rollout, and by the third week we were monitoring and managing almost 150,000 transactions per hour at an average of .6 milliseconds.
The merchant bank created the internal connections and API’s for processing. We managed to work with almost 100 different vendors to create either single point VPN using enhanced encryption, or for smaller/single chains created a private repository with whitelisted IP’s behind Cloudflare’s enterprise protection system. We then deployed two Web clusters — one for private VPN use, and one for public use to allow identification and monitoring of traffic accordingly. As we ramped up to 100,000 transactions per hour, the balance and reporting system was being flooded and we were able to expand a third set with a SQL mirror copy of the live database for reporting back to the government in almost real-time, and allow people to get balance and transaction information.