Many Ugandans found themselves in a bit of shock after reports came in confirming how the government has instructed Mobile Money agents to request users to always present their national identification cards during transactions.
The move, which is also similar to how banks have been operating recently, has been seen as a strategy aimed at fighting fraudsters who use mobile money to withdraw funds and engage in other fraudulent activities while using the platform.
It has also been reported that the new directive will enable telecoms and government to know who is withdrawing funds including other detailed information such as location to mention but a few. So far, the new move only applies to MTN customers but it is expected to become a standard for all networks soon.
It should also be noted that some other countries like Kenya have been using the same tactic for a while now with many customers of M-PESA or Airtel Money expected to present their identification cards or at least a valid passport when they do a transaction at an agent outlet.
However, in Kenya, customers are expected to present their ID when undertaking both cash-out and cash-in transactions which may not be the case for Uganda as it only applies to withdrawal transactions.
We’re not sure whether the new mandate has anything to do with the recent internet shutdown and restrictions, but according to reports, the move is to help improve on security and ensure safer mobile money transactions for all users.
National identification cards have become a necessity in Uganda since most citizens are now required to have one if they want to register or buy a SIM card, transact at any bank, buy land, travel, and even vote. It will soon be a priority for any citizen to have a valid ID in order to access certain services.
The question now is, isn’t this move only going to make life a bit difficult for those Ugandans who haven’t received their national identification cards yet? And what guarantee is there that the new system will help reduce on fraudulent transactions. It is yet to be determined and we can only wait to see the results.
National ID’s now required for mobile money transactions
Since having a national ID is now something that can’t be ignored anymore, we only hope that NIRA (National Identification and Registration Authority) makes it easier for Ugandans to attain identification cards and at the same time streamline the process of acquiring one as many have had issues doing so in the past.
In some cases, there have been reports of Ugandans being taken advantage of while trying to attain national ID’s whereby there is a need to bribe officials in order to get your card faster. Some have completely been robbed of their money by fraudsters pretending to be working with NIRA and having connections to help make the process less straining.
NIRA also states that the technology deployed by its team is able to detect and disable any kind of duplication in case there has been one based on information on their FAQ page.
According to Tech Jaja, in Kenya, for each transaction, the agent is required to enter the following information: the M-PESA balance, the date, agent ID, transaction ID, transaction type (customer deposit or withdrawal, agent cash rebalancing), value, customer phone number, customer name, and the customer’s national ID number. This information is then copied from the agent’s confirming SMS.
Customers are then asked to sign the log for each transaction, which helps discourage fraud and also gives agents a way to offer first-line customer care for customers querying previous transactions.
None the less, just like any other regulations approved by the Ugandan government, the directive will soon be a norm for all users who are using mobile money services and is expected to cut across all telecoms.
So, what are your thoughts about this new directive? Do you think having to present your valid National ID before you can withdrawal mobile money is a necessary measure? Let us know in the comment section.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.