E-payment: Interswitch warns Nigerians of fraudsters



Interswitch Nigeria Limited, one of the nation’s foremost electronic payment service providers, has warned the Nigerian banking public to guard against the increasing activities of fraudsters in Nigeria’s financial system.


The company has also denied recent newspaper reports that it was operating a website – interswitchng.com – to demand for the Personal Identification Numbers of banks’ customers.


Speaking at a press briefing on the cardholders’ awareness campaign in Lagos on Wednesday, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Interswitch, Mr. Mitchel Elegbe, said, in the last few months, there had been various messages on the websites and in customers’ mobile phones.


He said the messages asked cardholders to register their debit, credit or cash card details under the guise of participating in non-existent promotions with promises of bogus prizes.


The messages were also circulated through the Internet. In some cases, the messages claimed a network upgrade by the bank or Interswitch, requesting the cardholders to re-register their cards and PINs on a re-directed website or phone number.


This, Elegbe observed, had affected the performance of cards adversely.


He said investigations into the isolated incidents revealed that people were ignorant of the need to protect their PINs at all times.


Statistics have revealed that not less than 20 million Nigerians currently use e-payment cards, which experts say has greatly increased the challenges associated with the technology.


Elegbe noted that with the introduction of payment cards in the country, adoption of all forms of electronic payment channels, such as Automated Teller Machines, Point of Sales terminals, Kiosk, Voice, Internet Banking and Mobile Banking, had been on a steady rise.


He said the rapid growth in card adoption and usage indicated the potentials of well-orchestrated activities, targeted at not only the unsuspecting cardholders but also the bank.


Service providers had said instances where cardholders had fallen victims to fraudsters’ activities in Nigeria was less than one per cent of all transactions.


Elegbe, however, said these had made current and potential cardholders apprehensive of the security of card payments.


He stated that the awareness campaign was organised by Interswitch, in alliance with 11 participating banks, in order to educate cardholders and create awareness of payment cards in the country. - Punch

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