Remittances – money sent home by Kenyans abroad – continues to provide a stable source of foreign exchange for Kenya while supporting many households.
Data from the Central Bank of Kenya indicates that remittances have increased to a record $ 290 million (sh31.3 billion) in the first quarter of 2021, 27% more than the $ 229.8 million (sh24.8 billion) recorded in the first quarter of 2020.
An interesting trend is that a growing number of the 3 million Kenyans living abroad are opting for digital payment services as opposed to traditional money transfer agents. This is also the case for recipients, who increasingly prefer digital payment methods like mobile money and wire transfer.
While the convenience of digital payments is unprecedented, if not vigilant, making and receiving payments online also carries the risk of cybercrime. From identity theft to unlicensed points of sale taking advantage of customers, users of digital payment services need to remain vigilant while online.
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Security is a top priority at WorldRemit, and we aim to put customer security at the heart of our processes as more and more people opt for digital payments in Kenya.
Here are five tips from digital payments experts WorldRemit to ensure your security during your transactions via digital channels.
- If it sounds too good to be true, avoid it
There are many reasons people use digital payment services – receiving money from friends and relatives abroad is just one of them. Sometimes you can use the digital payment service to process payments for online work or online investments. When looking for a service to use, beware of people or businesses approaching you claiming to save you huge transaction or currency exchange fees as long as they process the transaction for you. The rule is: if it’s too good to be true, avoid it.
- Make sure you are using an approved supplier
Use only reputable and approved payment providers such as WorldRemit. Go online to the relevant financial regulator’s website to determine if the payment provider is licensed. WorldRemit is a licensed international money transfer service and an authorized electronic money institution.
- Check customer support availability and user reviews
Even if you are using a simple and easy to use digital service, it is still reassuring to know that you can turn to a customer support team if you have any difficulties. WorldRemit has 24/7 customer support, which means you can get help or your questions answered anytime, anywhere in the world. The best source of information about the safety, security and general user experience of a service are other users. Visit a reputable website like TrustPilot to get user feedback on a service. WorldRemit currently has a 4.1 rating on TrustPilot from 47,820 reviews. A majority of users rated WorldRemit as excellent (5 stars).
- Stay alert and up to date with the latest trends
Watch out for scams that target consumers after completing a transaction. It’s not uncommon for crooks posing as tech support to notify you that there is a problem with your transaction or account. To avoid becoming the target of such scams, do not provide sensitive data such as your password, date of birth and other personal information. Familiarize yourself with the official communication channels of your service providers and avoid communicating through unofficial lines – this is usually always a scam. Also stay on top of the latest trends in information security, including making sure you are using a service with the latest encryption features and with clear information about how they store and use users’ personal information.
- Beware of people impersonating brands
A common trick is to create a fake social media account in an attempt to convince yourself that this is someone they are not in order to gain your trust. Hooks such as’invest and we’ll give you a 10x return‘are used, but once you’ve parted with your money, you’re unlikely to talk to anyone again. Make sure to verify who you are talking to and verify that it is the brand you think it is. Contact the company you are considering directly through their website to be on the safe side.
Keeping these simple tips in mind can save you and your business, friends and family from financial loss resulting from online payment scams.
– by Sharon Kinyanjui, Director Europe Middle East and Africa Receive Markets, WorldRemit