Equity Bank has been on a hot seat over the last couple of hours.
The bank has always been doing the right thing with its propositions, but this has not spared it from bad publicity.
While the banking industry in Kenya has seen notable growth in terms of profits, fraud cases have also been on the rise. Of course, they are not limited to Equity – but the lender gets the attention because it is one of the biggest financial institutions around. Just like M-PESA, and Windows being popular platforms to attract fraud and security vulnerabilities, respectively.
Nevertheless, this unhealthy development affects all banks, and not only produces losses to the institutions but also soils their credibility.
Equity says that it has always been safeguarding the interests of its consumers, and from the thread linked below, it is clear that the bank’s social media channels are ready to address issues raised therein.
It is likely Equity is fixing its reporting system and staff accountability. It has also shared practices the methods used by fraudsters, and has since rolled out the 0763000000 number to reach out to customers.
The only promising step is to create awareness among people about their rights and duties and make application of laws more stringent to check crimes. Equity appears to be in line with this development.
Here are some updates that bank has released to safeguard the security of customer accounts:
Eazzy Banking App
It has new features that include introduction of a one-time PIN (OTP) ensuring customers will receive a verification code sent to their registered mobile number for every transaction they initiate. This gives them more security when using the app. Additionally, the app now allows customers to log in in using their fingerprint for devices that support biometric authentication. This is in addition to the option of using a PIN for login. Just go to the google Play Store or APP Store and update or download the Eazzy Banking App.
Equity has introduced a new feature on Equitel to ensure before customers finalize their transaction, they have an opportunity to reconfirm the transaction. At the final leg of a transaction, Equitel prompts you to confirm a transaction by typing 1 TO SEND and typing 2 TO CANCEL. This is in our endeavor to get customers to “Hakikisha” and confirm that they want to send money to that person’s number or account number.
To log onto the EazzyNet channel of banking, which is basically internet banking for retail customers, one gets a One Time Pin (OTP) that they use to be able to transact successfully. The OTP is sent to the mobile number registered at the bank.
Customers must not to receive instructions on phone through a phone call or SMS from people purporting to be Equity Bank staff to commit any banking transaction on your phone. If you receive such a call or SMS, report by forwarding that number to 333 immediately. You can also visit the nearest Equity branch or Equity Agent for assistance.
If you receive an SMS that is not from “EQUITY” or “EQUITEL” and you suspect to be fraudulent, report by forwarding that SMS and number to 333. Always remember, your PIN is your secret. No Equity staff will ever call to ask for your PIN.
Equity Bank has always been in the spotlight, and while it executes its functions right, some complaints from customers have put it in a tight spot.
The issues surrounding social engineering are an open secret and not limited to Equity, but the bank’s constant push to make its customers use the Equitel platform urgently needs an adjustment. Ask any customer who has been to the bank’s ATM section, and they would tell you they have been hassled by Equitel line hawkers, who register a client at that spot without taking necessary precautions.
Which is what happened to a customer, a not tech-savvy one that saw her account emptied by people purporting to be Equity employees.
The bank has tried to fix these issues, and has since rolled out a new number to reach out to customers.
Here is a thread that has sparked an online discussion about Equity’s faults:
Well, the saddest part is that Equity, among other banks has zero exposure, but it sure has tried to address the issues with new safeguards that have been discussed above.
Unfortunately, the need to make services increasingly more accessible means that these kind of attacks will only become more commonplace.
Having this discussion will see a more robust approach to informing the public about their accounts will be safe, which should go a long way in bringing up the trust element that people associate with banks.
UPDATE: We have a correspondence from the customer whose parent was subject to this catastrophe.
A woman who is a widow and physically challenged lost her Equity ATM card on Sunday 27th Sep 2020.
She called equity bank customer care to have it blocked which they did on 28th sep 2020 she booked an OB attached herewith at Ogembo police station and proceeded to Equity Bank Kisii.
The bank had tech issues with regard to the issuance of ATMs. They advised her to acquire Equitel line.
She was enrolled in the platform at the same branch. They told her to switch off the Equitel line for 24 hrs for activation to effect.
On 29th sep 2020 at 10am she received a call from a guy who informed her he was working with equity bank kisii branch and he wanted to help activation of the line acquired on 28th sep 2020.
After the 2 hour call, she realised 1M was gone! She called Equity Bank and they invited her to the branch today 30th. She recorded a statement with the bank.
Up to now her monies have not been traced and furthermore they have said the police are investigating.
Kindly note that its the bank which gave the widow a platform through which her 6 years savings were swept clean.
These are monies that were acquired from her late husband who passed away in 2012 due to electrocution! She has three kids with two who are still in school.