News Column

Abstinence Not Solution to E-Payment Fraud

May 19, 2014

Babajide Komolafe

THE young man was quite in a hurry. "What is the problem? He asked the bank teller. "Nothing, just be patient, the teller responded from her cubicle. "Why not apply for an ATM card? A customer asked the young man. "No! I am not interested. Is it by force? He replied.

About five minutes later, the teller handed him cash that could not be more than N10, 000, and off he went. I pondered; he would have spent nothing less than 30 minutes, just to collect N10, 000. With an ATM card, he would not have needed to go through the stress and the time to the money.

The attitude of the young man to electronic payment (e-payment) is similar to that of many people. Such attitude is usually informed by two things. Either they have been victims of e-payment fraud, or have heard stories of people (who maybe close acquaintance) who had been defrauded through e-payment. So out of fear of been victims again, or becoming the next victim, they chose to abstain from anything e-payment.

Such attitude is quite understandable. You have worked hard to earn your money. You have denied yourself and family of many comforts, in order to save for the rainy day. In Nigeria there is no social security, and because of the widespread unemployment and poverty, it can be difficult to rely on others to bail you out in the case of an emergency. As a result you need to protect you savings.

Waste of time and resources

Having heard stories of how somebody lost money through e-payment fraud, you will naturally want to abstain in order not expose your money to such risk.

But abstaining from e-payment because of the risk of fraud is like abstaining from air travel because of the risk of air crash. It results into colossal waste of time and resources, in addition to severe stress on the body. To abstain from e-payment because of fraud is to abstain from the comfort and convenience it offers, as well as the opportunity to do more with less resources and stress. Abstinence can also result to loss of lives or make dear ones experience avoidable suffering.

To abstain from e-payment means you will always visit the bank, any time you need cash, or want to send money to somebody. Like in the case of the young man above, you will spend nothing less than 30 minutes every time you visit a bank for such transactions. If you do this 50 times in a year, you will spend 25 hours or one day every year just to visit banks for transactions.

This is besides the bodily stress, and the money you will spend for transport on every visit. Also imagine an acquaintance in dare need of financial support due to an emergency.

Financial support

He is far from where you are. You offer to help, but because you have abstained from e-payment, you will have to visit the bank to transfer money to him, or he has to come to you to receive the money. Hence, the problem lingers, and the impact increases.

If it was a life threatening medical emergency, life could be lost as a result of the time it would take to access or receive your financial assistance. But with e-payment, this would not be so, because you will be able to instantly transfer the money from your phone, internet or ATM, and thus save the situation.

It is true that e-payment is vulnerable to fraud, but abstinence is not the solution to protecting yourself from such fraud. Abstaining from e-payment most certainly in the long run, costs more than e-payment fraud.

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Source: AllAfrica

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