Awareness & Advocacy
Lack of awareness, limited knowledge about mobile money services, even among those familiar with the service providers and low level of acceptance have been identified as some of the difficulties mobile money operators are struggling with in Nigeria.
Mobile money and other form of mobile payment were expected to foster the financial inclusion of the unbanked populace, facilitate economic activities and deliver on employment and economic growth in the long run. But despite the excitement that greeted the scheme, the majority of the citizens still show a preference and trust in traditional banking services.
This preference is underpinned by their perceptions of banks as institutions with proven financial records, established brands and a physical presence that provides reassurance. Mobile money services, on the other hand, are deemed vulnerable to mobile network fraud and poor network quality, especially in a country like Nigeria that lacks the basic infrastructures.
Areas of Advocacy for AMMBAN includes the following
Many mobile money agents do not have the capacity to understand fraud in their businesses and/or in the industry in general.
There is need to put mechanism in place to track frauds at an industry level and to deepen faith of the population on the mobile money ecosystem. Donors can bridge this gap by providing funding to create capacity in this field and by helping development of curriculums / training platforms to train different stakeholders in the mobile money eco-system on fraud prevention.
Adoption by Government
All tiers of government must show sincerity and commitment in driving financial inclusion by gradually adopting mobile financial channels as mode for payment of taxes, levies, and even distribution of social benefits to her citizens.
Financial education is required for both agents and consumers to effectively tackle the menace of fraud in mobile financial services. Financial transactions using the mobile phone are a very recent phenomenon. Even the upper and middle class population—which is better educated and more aware about technology and usage—has not started using the service to its full potential.
The low-income population, especially the un-banked and under banked, needs to be educated on the usage, benefits and risks among other aspects so that it can confidently use this facility. Similarly, agents will not be able to service the consumers properly and ensure client protection unless they know about the risks and precautions they need to take as service providers. Financial education need not be formal, but involve usage of marketing and promotional tools to drive awareness. There are a number of critical financial education measures that should be considered:
Agent training and certification
It is widely agreed that agents form the back bone of mobile money services. Comprehensive training of agents creates the first line of defense against fraud. Mobile financial services providers must therefore have a comprehensive curriculum in place for initial and on-going training of agents. The curriculum must include certification and evaluation. Well trained agents will be aware of risks, will ensure that customers are made aware of the risks and will know off measures to deal with risks and minimize damage.
Structured customer and/or agent feedback sessions and events
AMMBAN will organize customer/agent feedback sessions on timely basis: These forums help to sensitize users and players about mobile financial services and obtain feedback from these stakeholders.
The use of road shows
These focus on experiential interactions between the mobile money service providers and customers/agents. Road shows have been widely used in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector to create awareness around products and services and to address any objections to the products. Mobile financial services are very closely aligned to the FMCG sector and therefore road shows should help providers engage with the customers better. Thirdly, adoption of consumer education through awareness campaigns. Awareness campaigns on specific areas of fraud in the print and electronic media will help in sensitizing the public about the specific risks.