Safety tips on ATMs, cards, mobile and online transactions

In the recent past, the financial sector in Kenya has grown tremendously in embracing a number of payment methods as a way of promoting efficiency and convenience to the end user. These methods include use of bank cards, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), mobile banking and also online payments. According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the banking sector continues to adopt more secure, convenient and safe technology at their cash points to curb insecurity while at the same time enlightening their customers. The integration of technology in payments of goods and services as well as accessing financial services has also enhanced efficiency and consumer satisfaction.

Despite these advancements, challenges continue to be experienced in the Fintech space. Reported cases of fraud have become rampant, with financial institutions and consumers falling victim.

In 2017, the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) lauded the adoption of the Chip and Pin technology by financial institutions terming it as one of the greatest moves incorporated to curb fraud. With the Chip and Pin technology, one’s data is embedded in a microchip and requires a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) for a transaction to be complete, making it more secure and confidential. However, with the rise in fraudulent cases more effort is required to enhance safety and security of the customers’ valuable assets.

To take precautionary measures, consumers and financial institutions need to be more informed on safety measures to embrace when using ATM machines and cards, or when conducting online and mobile transactions. Some measures include the following:

  • Ensure that your bank has issued you with EMV-compliant Chip and PIN payment card, which is the technological standard applied for bank cards globally.
  • Avoid writing down your PIN numbers or passwords on a written material and preserving it to avoid it being accessed by unauthorized persons. Memorizing the passcodes is the best practice.
  • When choosing your personal password or PIN, avoid using numbers and letters that relate to your personal information as these can easily be memorized or guessed by unauthorized parties who may illegally have access to your ATM card or Bank Application. Use a combination of alphanumeric and other special characters to make a strong password or PIN.
  • When using the ATM booth, always remember to shield the screen and keyboard so that anyone waiting in line cannot see your PIN or the amount transacted. Incase you see or sense anything suspicious around the ATM booth, quickly cancel the transaction and leave immediately and remember to report the incidence to the security guard on duty.
  • Never share your pin or password with anyone.
  • If an ATM machine retains your card, do not leave the premises without notifying your bank and do not accept help from a stranger on the same.
  • During an online transaction process, always ensure that you log in from a secured internet connection. Never log onto your bank account from a cyber cafe or using public Wi-Fi and hotspots. It is also important to ensure that the website being used is secure to prevent online hacking and fraud.
  • Beware of emails and phone scams including messages about competitions you have not signed up for. Do not respond to such scam messages or call back to verify as most of them will ask for your bank account details.
  • In the instance you notice that your bank account information has been obtained by a cyber criminal, notify all your financial service providers with immediate effect to prevent theft of your bank savings. It is also advisable to avoid negotiating with strangers either online or in person, because fraudsters are all over and are not easily identified.

Do not be the next victim of fraud. Observe the above safety measures and enjoy the hard-earned fruits of your labour!