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PalmPay’s Efforts at Curtailing Cyber Fraud: Two Sides of the Same Coin



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The financial inclusion rate in Nigeria has improved. Since the country adopted an inclusion strategy in 2012, adult Nigerians with a bank account have increased, and now account for more than two-thirds of the financially included.

According to the 2023 Report on Access to Financial Services in Nigeria, financial inclusion continues to expand and has so far been fueled by marginal growth among the country’s banked population and major gains in non-bank formal adoption.

Although approximately 40 million adult Nigerians remain formally excluded, formal financial inclusion was said to have grown from 56% in 2020 to 64% in 2023.

In the last four years, fintech companies in Nigeria have played a vital role in closing this gap, bringing financial services to the country’s unbanked and driving economic growth. Their successes, however, have not come without challenges.

Following the penetration of digital payment platforms in Africa, a fraud epidemic has plagued the fintech ecosystem in Nigeria, with Mobile, Web and POS being the most exploited channels by fraudsters in the country in 2023.

According to the 2023 NIBSS Annual Fraud Landscape report, incidents of “Fraud loss via Internet Banking increased by 325% between 2022 and 2023.”

The rise of digital payment platforms in Nigeria has increased the potential for cyber fraud, with fintech companies now forced to balance between making payment apps user-friendly and prioritising users’ safety to stem increased cyber fraud.

Fintech Side of the Coin

To address the fraud epidemic, the Fintech Association of Nigeria (FintechNGR) plans to unveil a fraud reporting framework sometime this year, while fintech platforms such as PalmPay continue to take the initiative to reevaluate their in-app safety features to protect their users from the activities of fraudsters.

Since launching in Nigeria in 2019 under a Mobile Money Operator (MMO) licence by CBN, PalmPay has grown to over 30 million users as part of its payment ecosystem.

In building a user-friendly app, PalmPay has also sought to foster a secure financial ecosystem by integrating safety features into its app so that the millions of users who transact with the app do so in a safe and trusted environment.

In general, PalmPay employs a closed-loop risk management system that involves continuous monitoring, analysis, and response to fraud threats and allows it to detect and prevent security risks in real-time and reduce the potential impact of fraud.

In particular, to reduce incidents of fraud, protect their users from fraudsters, and provide a safe banking environment, PalmPay binds their users’ phones to the app and has an auto-logout and biometrics feature to confirm users’ identity.

PalmPay Safety Features

Chika Nwosu, Managing Director, PalmPay, said the reason why the fintech platform has witnessed astonishing growth in four years was because “We prioritise the safety and security of our users.” He said they’ve been able to achieve this by “marrying security and safety with the customer experience to create a balance.”

Because it understands that curtailing fraud is a two-way street, PalmPay runs a Wallet Safety Workshop to teach users of its app and POS machines various security topics covering payment security and common security issues in daily life, such as password management, fraud detection, phishing and risk identification.

The safety workshop underscores PalmPay’s understanding of user security as an important part of curtailing fraud and encourages its users to ensure that they always secure their wallets using the several built-in safety features in its app.

A recent example was a series of campaigns encouraging its users to link their wallets with their BVN or NIN, following the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for users of fintech platforms to link their wallets with their BVN or NIN.

To encourage the users to meet the CBN deadline of January 31, 2024, PalmPay introduced an incentive payment system where up to N500 was paid to users who got ahead of the deadline and validated their wallet information.

PalmPay users have several options for protecting themselves against fraudsters such as the two-factor verification process that makes it difficult for fraudsters to gain access to users’ apps without spooking them.  In the first half of 2023, millions of users linked their secure email addresses to their PalmPay app. With this feature, PalmPay users effortlessly receive OTPs for their in-app login.

The PalmPay app has a device management feature that allows users to manage trusted devices and remove untrusted devices. When logging in on an untrusted device, users complete a comprehensive security verification process that involves inputting an OTP and their PIN to ensure security.

Role of PalmPay Users

While fintech companies play a role in protecting users from cyber fraud, the rising fraud incidents in Nigeria can sometimes be due to poor digital and financial literacy, but most especially the failure of many victims to report an attack.

In a report last year, Temitayo Oduwole, Head of IT and Payments, PalmPay, observed that customers do not take prompt action in incidents of fraud and that “Only 33 per cent report the same day or take the necessary right action on the same day.”

Effective investigation into incidents of fraud begins when the user reports to their bank that fraud has occurred. However, fraud, if not reported within the hour the crime occurred, allows criminals to move the stolen funds to ‘safe’ places.

Precaution remains the best remedy to protect oneself from cyber fraud. Anti-fraud expert Tosin Adenekan warned fintech users against trusting strangers with their personal information when performing digital transactions.

According to Mrs Adenekan, “Users of fintech platforms owe it to themselves to follow standard safety precautions to avoid being defrauded by cyber criminals.

“Do not allow strangers such as POS operators to handle personal ATM cards. This is because cybercriminals often posing as helpful POS operators can exploit this to observe PIN entries and distract card owners, ultimately swapping ATM cards.”

She urged fintech users to “take steps to reduce incidents of fraud on their wallets by creating strong passwords, enabling the two-factor authentication features on their fintech app, monitoring their wallets for unauthorised transactions, and protecting their personal login information when in public from prying eyes.”

Other steps to take include “regularly updating their apps, setting limits for their wallets, staying alert for phishing attempts, getting the proper financial education, using secure internet connection, being aware of pop-ups and fraudulent emails, and ensuring that operating systems and internet connections are up to date.”

To prevent falling victim to cyber fraud, Mrs Adenekan urged fintech users to adhere to these safety guidelines and “don’t trust everything on the internet.”

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FG Recovers N57Bn Debt from 10 MDAs



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Federal government has announced the recovery of N57 billion from the N5.2 trillion liaibilities owed the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other bodies by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government

FG Recovers N57Bn Debt from 10 MDAs

Okokon Ekanem Udo, permanent secretary, Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Finance made the disclosure on Tuesday in Enugu State during a Sensitisation Workshop on Federal Government Debt Recovery Drive through Project Lighthouse Programme for South-East geo-political zone.

While declaring the event open, Ekanem stated that the debts came to the spotlight from data aggregated from over 5,000+ debtors across more than 93 MDAs.

This was according to a statement by Mohammed Manga, spokesman for the ministry.

Represented by Aisha Omar, the ministry’s director, Special Projects, Ekanem Udo, informed that it also received refunds to the government from companies who failed to deliver on projects for which payment had been made, adding that others are unpaid credit facilities granted to both corporate entities and individuals by the Bank of Industry (BOI), Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Judgment Debt in favor of Government and debts owed Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) by Insurance Companies amongst others.

He added that data from Project Lighthouse revealed that many companies and individuals, who owe government agencies and refused to honour their obligations were still being paid.

This, he said, was done through government platforms such as GIFMIS and Treasury Single Account (TSA) due to lack of visibility over these transactions.

According to him, in actualising debt recovery goal, the Federal Ministry of Finance initiated Project Lighthouse, which has enabled the aggregation of relevant economic and financial information from multiple agencies who hitherto did not share data.

Ekanem Udo explained that, generally, revenue loopholes have been aided by poor information sharing and enforcement.

It may interest you to note that the Ministry, through the consolidation efforts of the Debt Analytics and Reporting Application, has been able to aggregate monumental debts of approximately N5.2 trillion, he said.

The Permanent Secretary who informed further that the debt aggregation effort is still ongoing stated that currently, approximately N57 billion has been recovered so far from this amount due to concerted efforts on the part of stakeholders and the Federal Government

He disclosed that the Ministry has taken steps to address this major revenue loophole, through the issuance of a Ministerial directive to all MDAs to aggregate all Government debt across the Public Finance Space as well as having a single window on the credit profile of Government.





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Access Pensions Reaffirms Commitment Towards PBMs for Nigerians



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Access Pensions has emphasized its commitment to offering thorough guidance and assistance to customers interested in Pension Backed Mortgages (PBMs).

Head of Customer Experience at Access Pensions, Ophelia Alex-Iwuanyanwu, reiterated this commitment during a recent webinar organised by the company.

She also highlighted the Access advantage, showcasing the robust financial ecosystem provided by Access Corporation and how the firm is committed to ensuring the best for its customers.

Additionally, Chief Investment Officer, Access Pensions, Wale Okunrinboye, Regional Head, Business Development, Adaeze Raji and Head of Benefits Administration, Access Pensions, Zainab Bello, provided valuable insights to webinar attendees, offering tips to enhance pension planning security and manage personal finances effectively.

They reiterated the company’s commitment to delivering top-notch relationship management services. Alex-Iwuanyanwu said, “We offer competitive pension backed mortgage finance tailored to your needs, ensuring your goal of home ownership is achieved.

“We also guide our customers through every step of the homeownership journey, starting well before the application reaches us. We offer end-to-end guidance from our team to ensure a simplified process that reduces the turnaround time, from initiation to PENCOM’s approval.”

She further added that clients benefit from dedicated relationship managers, access to digital channels, financial literacy programs and superior investment returns. Additionally, efficient benefits administration ensures timely pension payouts globally.

Also, Okunrinboye, speaking on “Investment Management: How do we manage your pensions” said: “Our investment process is built around applying an analytical approach to securities analysis, asset allocation, optimal trade execution and a quantitative approach to risk management.”

Furthermore, Raji discussed the essential steps to achieve retirement goals, emphasising the importance of setting clear income targets and developing a comprehensive plan to achieve them. She noted that this involves identifying income sources, assessing expenses, establishing a savings strategy, and effectively managing assets and risks.

Bello delved into the specifics of pension benefits. She outlined the eligibility criteria for accessing retirement benefits, which include various circumstances such as mandatory or compulsory retirement, retirement due to medical reasons, or temporary loss of employment.

Additionally, she highlighted the factors that determine the amount payable to retirees, including gender, the total balance in the retirement savings account (RSA), final salary details, and the age at which retirement occurs.

The webinar, hosted by Head of Brand and Communications, Mojisola Coker, provided an enlightening platform for customers to engage in a question-and-answer session, fostering valuable insights.


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Former SEC Leadership Failed to Regulate, Develop Capital Market- ASCSN



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Senior Staff Union under the aegis of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused the past administration of the Commission led by Dr. Lamido Yuguda of failing in its mandate of effectively regulating and developing the capital market, which is an intricate part of the nation’s economy.

Former SEC Leadership Failed to Regulate, Develop Capital Market- ASCSN

ASCSN also urged the federal government to exempt workers of the commission from 50 percent operating surplus remittance

Abba Mamman Ali, chairman of the Union, stated this on Monday during a briefing with journalists in Abuja.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu had last Friday sacked Dr. Lamido Yuguda, former director general and announced a new management and board for the Commission.

While Mr. Mairiga Aliyu Katuka is the chairman of the new board, Dr. Emomotimi Agama is the new director-general.

Abba said the administration of the Yuguda “failed in its mandate to effectively regulate and develop the capital market, which is an intricate part of the Nigerian economy.”

Furthermore, he said the Yuguda-led Management “was insensitive and unresponsive towards issues of staff welfare especially issues bordering on staff promotion, gratuity and increase of staff emolument, amongst many others.”

He said, “Unfortunately, staff morale was at the lowest ebb under the regime of the immediate past Management.

‘It became clear to the SEC Staff Union and our parent body, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) that a vibrant capital market and a highly motivated SEC workforce could only be achieved through a change of SEC Management by Mr President.

“This prompted the Union to cry out to His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. By clearing out the ineffective SEC Management led by Lamido Yuguda, His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has lived up to his sterling reputation as a listening President.”

He said the SEC Staff Union has pledged to collaborate seamlessly with the new board under the leadership of board chairman, Mr. Mairiga Aliyu Katuka and Director General, Dr. Emomotimi Agama, to deliver a vibrant capital market in line with President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

However, to achieve this, he called for the commission to be exempted from the 50 per cent deductions on operating surplus as contained in the Finance Act 2024 because the Commission is a development institution.

He said, “We want this management to look into issues of staff promotion, vacancies and gratuity. We urge them to look at it very well and settle those issues as they concern staff directly.

“Also, there is need for Management to meet with the government on the issue of 50 per cent deductions on operating surplus. These deductions have almost incapacitated the Commission as the SEC has been having great difficulties carrying out its dual functions of regulating and developing the capital market.”

On the capital market, he said the Union is “urging the new management to constitute a market wide committee who will proffer solutions to the various issues currently bedevilling the market.”

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