Nigerians move 80 billion naira monthly through the auto mated teller machine (ATM), while the monthly transactions of Point of Sale mach i nes across the country is about N1.4 billion, the Chief Executive Officer, Valuc a rd Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kyari Bukar, disclosed here (150 naira = US$ 1).
The private Punch newspaper quoted Bukar, speaking at an information security co nference Wednesday, as saying that the poor information security and data protec t ion in Nigeria’s e-Payment system might hamper the multi-billion naira ATM trans a ctions.
According to him, optimizing the security components of card transactions is imp ortant to protect users’ funds as well as sustain confidence in the countryâ~s c ard payment system.
He pointed out that “losses from card fraud affect card usage rates, authorizati on parameters, operational process and staffing, while also decreasing profit ma r gin. These losses can endanger the most valuable asset that acquirers and issuer s have â” their relationships with business partners and consumers.”
Bukar stressed that the country must pay close attention to new technologies and processes that might prove to be effective in combating e-payment fraud, advisi n g depositors to embrace “the chip/PIN-based EMV (Europay, MasterCard and VISA) p a yment cards already in circulation, following directives from the Central Bank o f Nigeria for the replacement of magnetic stripe cards in use until 30 September,
The Valucard boss, however, noted that there had been a drastic reduction in the incidence of ATM fraud in the country since the introduction of chip/PIN cards,
noting â?This has been adduced to the various campaigns by both the government a nd regulators on the need for ATM users to ensure that they keep their cards saf e ly, without giving their PINs out to people who will defraud them.
“One thing that has been done is the issuance of EMV Chip/PIN cards to the peopl e. We still need proper legislation on this, to get the message circulated. Peop l e can use their ATMs safely for now. Operators are still working on more securit y features that will make us to be ahead of fraudsters.”
Noting that there was a need for Nigerians to ensure that their cards were EMV-c ompliant, Bukar stressed that â?it should not just be chip/PIN alone. Though, in Nigeria, we are already EMV compliant, I can tell you that, even in the US, the y are going to be EMV compliant by 2011.
“The level of fraud in the US is put at US$ 1.2 billion per annum because they h ave yet to be EMV complaint.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman, School of Management and Security, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, reiterated the need to secure the country’s information system for t h e future, stressing that it was a challenge that must be addressed now to preven t the future of Nigerian children.
Ekhomu noted that information security transcended ordinary IT security because the latter was a subset of information security.
â?Information system exhibits some loopholes exploited by fraudsters across the globe through malicious attacks and hacking, among others. But we must, by all m eans, ensure that we have a convergence by information security and physical sec u rity,â? he said.