MTN Mobile Money is undoubtedly the most used mobile payment platform in Ghana. It offers a convenient way of paying for goods and services and other business transactions.
MTN Ghana announced effective February 1, 2021 users of their mobile money platform will be required to present a valid national ID card for transactions at registered mobile money agents. In a news item, monitored by Ghana Talks Business, February 1, designated for the rollout of the policy has been shifted to April 1, 2021.
Reason for the demand in ID and shift in date
Unfortunately, the rise in mobile money transactions also brought with it an increase in mobile money fraud. MTN Mobile Money, first introduced in Ghana in 2009 began as an electronic wallet system that was linked to a mobile phone number to store, send and receive money.
Today, that service has expanded to include buying airtime, paying for utilities, withdrawing cash at merchants’ points including ATMs, paying for tv subscriptions, and many more. Mobile money has also evolved from just a link to a mobile money number but to bank accounts. Individuals and businesses can now send money to their bank accounts via mobile money as well as transfer money from their bank account to their mobile money wallet. This has caught the attention of fraudsters seeking to make a quick steal.
Last year, MTN Mobile Money executive, Mr. Godwin Tamakloe in a zoom discussion with members of the Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA) shared some tactics used by mobile money fraudsters.
According to him, customers are sometimes lead through some set of instructions that generates an ATM token for them which they (the fraudsters) use to rip off subscribers’ money.
One of the most common types of mobile money fraud is when fake agents or scammers send a message to a MoMo subscriber informing him or her of an error in a transaction and requesting the subscriber to send back the money or part of the money.
According to the General Manager of MTN Ghana, Eli Hene, MTN Ghana is committed to combatting mobile money fraud. One way it intends to do that is by demanding all of its mobile money agents to take ID’s from subscribers before performing any transaction on the subscriber’s behalf. He said, though the enforcement of the requirement isn’t anything new, it intends to step up its efforts.
“It’s not a new requirement it’s just that it has been very lax. Typically if you look on all our posters we have put it there clearly at the agent point, that all transactions should come with IDs but over the period a lot of our agents have relaxed that. Unless you go to our branches and our key stakeholder points, that’s where they enforce it. What is coming out is that most customers would rather avoid those places and go to where IDs are not demanded. We have realized that is also impacting on the fraud issues as well, and we needed to step it up. We are now doing it on a system level. The system is now demanding the agent to make that, as part of the transaction process. It’s to help us also deal with our fraud issues that have become very much of a challenge,” Eli Hene said.
The valid ID’s to present include the Ghana Card, Driving License, passport, voter’s ID, SSNIT ID, NHIS.
The enforcement of this requirement has been shifted from Februay 1 to April , 20201 to allow for enough sensitization.
“That timeline will now be first of April for full implementation because we are trying to give adequate time to ensure customer education has gone to all the areas of the country,” said the General Manager of MTN Ghana, Eli Hene.