Safaricom launches anti-fraud API for mobile transactions

Safaricom launches anti-fraud API for mobile transactions

Intention to formulate a framework to share user information with financial institutions.

Amid increasing incidents of fraud related to SIM swap, Safaricom has launched an anti-fraud API designed to better protect the business and other financial institutions.

The service will enable financial institutions to check with Safaricom if there has been a SIM swap on the network and discontinue any requested transactions.

Nicholas Mulila, Chief Corporate Security Officer at Safaricom, said in early 2018 there were approximately 200 cases of SIM swap monthly and over Kshs 1 million lost. However, the company managed to reduce the number of cases to 10 monthly by July 2018.

"We were in a crisis where we were seeing our customers lose their funds, through SIM swap and social engineering. We (had) gotten to a place where customers lost trust not only in us but also in the financial institutions," Mulila said.

The development of the anti-fraud API was influenced extensively by the terror attack in Nairobi at the Dusit 2 complex in March, where banks and mobile money agents were blamed for allowing terror funds to go through them.

They system will also use the 'know your customer' checks to ensure that funds are transferred to- and from the right users.

Mulila said that they will formulate a framework where they can share user information with financial institutions, but within the law to ensure the institutions benefit from Safaricom's customer data.

"We need to provide security and safety to market the product and services to our customers," Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Chief Financial Services Officer at Safaricom said. "This product enables financial institutions to check whether there is a SIM swap in our network. These things (SIM Swap) happen every day."

The API will work on the GSM network but also on Safaricom's app and internet banking for the financial institutions.

Lopokoiyit said that there has been a 75% decline in SIM swap in some organisations that have used the service.