Digital Payment Players Partner with Banks to Fight Fraud in the Financial Sector

By Mark Kawalya

Currently, fraud is one of the biggest issues facing the digital financial transactions sector, hemorrhaging public trust in the sector, and remaining a key bottleneck in the growth of the industry.

A partnership between the National Payment Systems Services Association and the Uganda Bankers’ Association (UBA) saw the two groups hold a webinar at MTN Uganda’s head office to discuss ways of combatting financial fraud. This is in response to the skyrocketing instances of fraudsters targeting digital financial services, especially those involving clients who don’t follow security guidelines.

Currently, Uganda has more than 17 national payment system service providers. These include MTN Mobile Money, Airtel Money, and commercial banks that are constantly targeted by fraudsters, sources from the Bank of Uganda revealed. 

During the webinar, Richard Yego, MTN Uganda’s Mobile Money Director, said they have come to the realization that fraudsters are striking both bank and mobile money customers at the same time.

“For that matter, there is a need to plan to put up a centralized cyber security monitoring system that will enable us to blacklist any person or number suspected to have defrauded a bank customer,” Mr. Yego said. 

He revealed that MTN Uganda Mobile Money had boosted its security capabilities, including disabling the mobile app’s ability to function without a sim card and switching off mobile money transactions 24 hours after a sim card has been swapped.  

Kenneth Natukunda, a Certified Financial Crime Specialist (CFCS) working with the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), said it has become challenging to fight mobile money fraud in the middle of the sim card registration exercises.

He added that “Fraudsters use sim cards registered in the names of dead people or old people in rural areas ignorant about the transactions.” As a point of caution, he advised all mobile phone owners to verify all sim cards that are registered under their identification documents.
The Uganda Bankers Association spokesperson, Patricia Amito, advised financial sector customers to take an interest in monitoring transactions that are carried out on their bank accounts to counter any incidence of fraud.

Airtel Uganda Mobile Commerce’s representative Andrew Rugamba called on mobile money users to follow the security guidelines when making mobile money transactions, such as not sharing their PINS or One-Time Passwords (OTP) with anyone.

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