Mobile banking catching up in Ghana

smart-phoneThe Ghanaian banking industry has in recent years witnessed a significant amount of transformation with the emergence of innovative products and services. Most banks now employ very innovative and cutting edge technologies to offer accessibility to their customers.

One of such innovations which is fast catching up with a lot of Ghanaians in the banking sector is Mobile banking, also known as M-Banking, SMS Banking, etc.

This service affords the banking public the opportunity to transact business with their respective banks, such as performing balance checks, account transactions, payments, etc. via a mobile device such as a mobile phone.

It is the latest in customer convenience in banking, to access and operate your bank account from anywhere from your cell phone.

Although the awareness of this facility has gained popularity in developed countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and India, subscribers to the facility in Ghana still account for a tiny percentage of the banking public, but it is fast gaining grounds.

Undoubtedly, most Ghanaians have become mobile-savvy, and are always trying out advanced hand-sets and services. But are those who have subscribed to the service making optimum use of the vast opportunities the service provides?

Abu Yahaya, Head of E-Business at the United Bank for Africa (Ghana Ltd.) tells The Chronicle that the sector is a very viable but untapped revenue generating avenue for most banks in the country.

He indicated that though education of the service was limited across the country, a lot more of their customers were ready to change the traditional banking way of queuing in banking halls to avail the convenience of mobile banking services.

Abu indicated that notwithstanding the air of convenience, the service affords its users, lack of education on the service remains a major hurdle to be crossed in our quest to ensuring a cashless society.

The convenience that comes with mobile banking, however, comes with great responsibility for users to ensure maximum security. Experts have, however, prescribed the following security measures for users of the service:

• One should immediately change his/her password and destroy the password mailer after doing so. Disclosing your password to someone (including bank staff) and using obvious passwords like name, date of birth, etc., is the biggest folly.

• Never store mobile banking PIN (m-pin) in your cell phone memory and also delete all messages that have your m-pin information. If possible, disable the temporary storage. The bank accounts of mobile banking users can be manipulated very easily if they lose their phone or change their phone number or hand-set. Tampering of any kind with phone or the number should be immediately reported to the bank; get mobile banking services blocked and request for a new m-pin.

• Use the phone-lock function on your mobile device when it is not in use. Choose passwords which are difficult to crack and keep them safe. Strong passwords have eight characters or more and use a combination of letters, numerals and symbols.

• Never disclose via text message any personal information such as account numbers, passwords or any combination of sensitive information like your birth date, etc., that could be used for identity theft.

• Before letting someone else have access to your device (lending it to another person, discarding, or selling your mobile device), ensure that you have deleted all personal account information.

• It is true that mobile banking saves you from those bank trips for every small little thing. But before you get lured by the convenience and the ease that mobile banking services provide, make sure that you know everything about the service. Mobile banking is available through many modes. Which one is compatible with your hand-set is the first thing that one should know as a mobile banking user.

The next time you visit your bank, insist that your banker offers you a service that would enable you transact business with them in the comfort of your home.

Source: The Chronicle

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