The Central Bank of Nigeria, through the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) is collaborating with the Association of Mobile Money and Banking Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN) to create a new feature on PoS terminals that will flag fraudulent transactions at agents’ locations by asking for specific KYC details before processing some transactions.
“We are at a very advanced stage, and we’re about to finish the technology side of it in terms of activating some features,” said Fasasi Sarafadeen Atanda, President of AMMBAN. He also noted that the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System is one of the drivers of the initiative.
The collaboration effort is also driven by the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum, Lilian Phido, the head of Corporate Communications at NIBSS, told TechCabal.
“Constant innovation within the industry underscored the necessity for the Central Bank to establish a dedicated body (named the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum) which consists of all key players and stakeholders to proactively work together in collaboration as an industry in ensuring the integrity of the payment systems across the nation,” said Phido.
The feature will be prominently displayed on the PoS terminal agents across the country. After a meeting with NIBSS last week, AMMBAN hopes the feature will be ready for launch by the first quarter of 2024.
There is also a coalition of security agencies, including the Nigerian police, Department of State Services (DSS), AMMBAN and NIBSS, to enable the easy tracking of fraudsters at agent locations. The coalition hopes to mandate a common identification system for the over 1.7 million banking agents on the AMMBAN database.
There are also discussions for agents to be trained and certified, but other stakeholders take a dim view of this strategy.
“The entry point of the fraud is not agent location but the fact that some accounts and wallets aren’t tied to real identities,” said Femi Omegbenigun, CEO of 3Line Card, a Nigerian payments company. “The fact that these accounts have underlying KYC issues means agents are not always aware that the money they are disbursing is proceeds of fraudulent transactions.”
And while whistleblowing channels exist nationwide, agents have only sometimes used them, said the AMMBAN President. There have been occasions when banking agents raised issues with particular transactions they considered suspicious and reported to the banks, but the financial institutions failed to act.
When the same issues were reported to security agents, they sometimes asked for money before taking action. “The individual agents are always discouraged from pushing that because you will end up wasting your money and resources,” Atanda said.
While they wait for the new feature on the PoS terminals, Atanda says the agents have commenced the implementation of the BVN-NIN policy of the CBN. New customers must provide either a BVN or NIN or both to open an account.