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M-Pesa rolls out Photo Identification to curb Fraudulent Transactions

by Milicent Atieno

Safaricom has tried its best to secure its mobile money M-Pesa. To transact on the platform, the user needs a PIN, and national ID to withdraw and send money. The company has also banned remote transaction where a user withdraws from an agent located at a different place.

However, there is still room for security improvement, and Safaricom has just rolled out a new photo identification on M-Pesa. Dubbed Know Your Customer (KYC), this is a new security measure by Safaricom, whereby its agents will have to upload headshot pictures of new SIM card users.

Next time the users goes to deposit or withdraw funds from their M-Pesa wallet, the agent will have to confirm the picture identity of the user from the Safaricom database. The Business Daily writes that Safaricom has issued out 25,000 smartphones to its agents, in a pilot program.

The smartphones issued to the agents comes preloaded with software that the agents will use to register new SIM card users. As part of the registration, the agent will have to take a headshot picture of the new customer and then uploaded to Safaricom database.

Safaricom will go a step further to verify customers records in its database with that of the government’s Registrar of Persons database. Current users will also have their photos populated in the database before the pilot program goes live.

Using an application on the phone, the agent keys in the customer’s registration details then takes a photo of the documents and the person registering,” said Stephen Chege the Corporate Affairs Directors at Safaricom while addressing the Business Daily.

“The big win from this process is the photo evidence of the person registering. The big win eliminates use of stolen personal identification documentation to commit fraud.”

Chege says that KYC process “will translate to better data integrity, adding to the security of M-Pesa services as well as other value-add services which are dependent on customer identification.”

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