Safaricom is reportedly planning to add a new feature that will customer contact details are hidden when making Lipa na M-PESA transactions. This is all in an effort to stop personal information from being traded to advertisers or fraudsters.
If this feature is made official, only the first and last few digits of a customer’s number will be displayed. The middle digits will be blocked thus hiding the user’s contact. This will be =similar to the model used by banks which avoid revealing their clients’ details by blocking account numbers during transactions.
As it stands, M-PESA lets users making payments have their numbers exposed to the thousands of people they interact with on the service. This has proven to be one of the causes of scams and unsolicited text messages. Customer details can also be sold to third parties without consent. This is an action that is classified as an offence by the 2019 data protection law.
This is a problem that has been previously reported to have been violated by a fifth of Kenyan companies. This was revealed by a survey by consultancy Ernst & Young (EY). The report showed that 41% of firms transferred their clients’ data to third-party service providers. More than half of these companies were found to have done this without seeking any approval from those customers.
Speaking to Business Daily, an undisclosed Safaricom executive revealed this saying,” The plan is to hide your number where it will display say the first two or three numbers and the last ones and block out the middle, just the way banks do.”
Users are usually also exposed to having their identities clones with their contacts so wide open to everyone. This is where cases of financial fraud have seemed to thrive in the recent past.
Hopefully, this feature will be introduced and help curb all these risks for customers across the country.