Reg­is­ter­ing your cell­phone ‘will help com­bat fraud’

You have un­til Jan­uary 2011 to reg­is­ter your cell­phone’s SIM card with your net­work provider in terms of Rica. Neesa Mood­ley-Isaacs re­ports on why it is im­por­tant that you reg­is­ter and what it en­tails.

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODWINES -

As cell­phone bank­ing be­comes in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, so does the risk of be­com­ing a vic­tim of fraud. This is all the more rea­son you should reg­is­ter your cell­phone’s SIM card as re­quired by the Reg­u­la­tion of In­ter­cep­tion of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Pro­vi­sion of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion-re­lated In­for­ma­tion Act (Rica) as soon as pos­si­ble, Clive Pil­lay, the Om­buds­man for Bank­ing Ser­vices, says.

The 2008 All Me­dia and Prod­ucts Sur­vey found that 86 per­cent of South African house­holds have ac­cess to at least one cell­phone, and there are about 40 mil­lion ac­tive cell­phone num­bers in South Africa. (Ac­cord­ing to mar­ket re­search com­pany Eighty20 Con­sult­ing, South Africa’s pop­u­la­tion is just over 50 mil­lion.)

Pil­lay says the im­por­tance of Rica is high­lighted by the fact that in 2005 banks lost R83 mil­lion to fraud­sters us­ing stolen or copied iden­tity doc­u­ments, while iden­tity theft could have cost South Africa close to R1 bil­lion last year.

“The use of tech­nol­ogy in the bank­ing realm has led to nu­mer­ous scams. This is why it is so im­por­tant that you are Rica-com­pli­ant: so that the op­por­tu­nity for tech­no­log­i­cal fraud is re­duced to a cer­tain ex­tent,” he says.

Pil­lay says the Pro­tec­tion of Per­sonal In­for­ma­tion Bill, which was tabled in Par­lia­ment in Au­gust, will of­fer you fur­ther pro­tec­tion against scam artists.

The Mo­bil­ity 2009 re­search project, which was com­mis­sioned by First Na­tional Bank and con­ducted by mar­ket re­search com­pany World Wide Worx, found that more South Africans use cell­phone bank­ing than in­ter net bank­ing. The study in­cluded re­search among 1 000 con­sumers in metropoli­tan ar­eas, 1 000 small and medium en­ter­prises and 240 large com­pa­nies.

Arthur Gold­stuck, the manag­ing di­rec­tor of World Wide Worx, says 16 per­cent of bank clients in South Africa use in­ter­net bank­ing com­pared with 28 per­cent who bank us­ing their cell­phones.

The study re­vealed that the main ser­vices used by cell­phone bankers are bal­ance in­quiries and trans­ac­tion no­ti­fi­ca­tions (three-quar­ters of cell­phone bankers use only th­ese two fea­tures). Just un­der half of all cell­phone bankers use their cell­phones to view bank state­ments, 35 per­cent to trans­fer money be­tween ac­counts and 28 per­cent to pay ac­counts.

Gold­stuck says only eight per­cent of cell­phone bankers add ben­e­fi­cia­ries via their cell­phones, which is an in­di­ca­tion of con­cerns over se­cu­rity and un­cer­tainty over how cell­phone bank­ing works.

“Our re­search shows that al­though South Africans are be­com­ing more comfortable with cell­phone bank­ing, pre­cisely half of gen­eral bank­ing cus­tomers are still ner­vous of it, cit­ing trust as their ma­jor con­cern,” he says.

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