In a bid to curb illegal sim card use and M-Pesa fraud, Safaricom has started digitizing customer identity information by taking photo identifications for new subscribers.
The information taken during this new registration format will resemble that collected by the registrar of persons while issuing National identification cards.
The telecommunication firm’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Stephen Chege, announced that they have already distributed 25,000 special phones to 25,000 agents across the country. The special phones will be used to collect and store customer identity information at the point of purchase of a SIM card.
He said the move was to the ease of storing digital records and its flexibility to link to other services hence making transactions efficient and frictionless.
“By digitizing how information is collected and stored, we will be able to exploit this benefit and eventually translate this to other services such as M-Pesa,” says Chege.
With the digitization of customer identification, M-pesa agents will be able to compare the photos in their database and the person carrying out an M-pesa transaction. This will provide more security to customer accounts and make transactions more secure.
This is the second time Safaricom is introducing measures to boost its security and protect its users, following the introduction of Hakikisha; an M-pesa service that allows customers to confirm the name of recipients before transacting funds or paying bills.
It follows the arrest of an M-pesa fraudster in Eldoret who was found to have over 12 SIM cards and IDs believed to be his tools for use while carrying out fraudulent transactions.
With the steady increase of M-pesa fraud in the past year in Kenya, Safaricom is hoping this new measure will protect the 19 million daily transactions of over 25 million customers.