Matching the Euphoria of Digital Banking with Enhanced Fraud Awareness (2)

“Stop selling. Start helping” – Zig Ziglar

Dear Readers, I have come once again into your minds this Monday morning to continue my series on the recent concern about the need for a balancing act as we enjoy all the goodies that come with digital banking. I am in no way qualified to write about information technology, but as a beneficiary of its products I speak for all bank customers – and even for the bank staff as well. Fraud awareness has always been key in the delivery of bank services, and digital banking is no exception. Please allow me to divert once again to share my recent experience of service delivery in another sector outside banking, which evidences the fact that multitasking at the front desk is an art to master in all aspects of customer service.

My Recent experience at The Silver Star Service Station Reception, Tema

I had been absent from the service station for over one year, but two of my old Service Advisors, George and Samuel showed absolute delight as I entered the reception area. It really felt good to be back. After sitting down to wait for my turn, my ‘Service delivery lens’ started combing the scene to observe their service delivery. I give them 85 percent for the following observations:

  • They welcomed visitors/customers warmly
  • They regularly connected to waiting customers in case there were unexpected delays in their service
  • They had a funny way of asking customers if they cared for some beverage – as Samuel called it, the ‘Benz Coffee, Tea/Milo’. The heavily-pregnant lady pleasantly recognised me and started telling her colleagues to read my Monday articles as she regularly asked customers with a smile… “Madam, would you care for some beverage?”
  • Telephone pick-ups were prompt except when I had to tell Samuel to pick one persistent call. His answer? “Madam, it’s an internal call; and the external calls from the mobile phone and the telephone operator were from customers and more important”. Well, that may be true but he still needed to excuse himself, pick it up and let the internal caller be aware that he had a customer in front of him.
  • He did not allow a colleague-staff to distract him with another job while he was working with me. He referred the ‘distractor’ to another staff. Good one there…. customer first. After all, the ‘distractor’ did not ask permission to be excused.
  • Where appropriate, they use local languages to make the customers feel relaxed
  • They inform customers ahead of time the likely duration of the service, and returned to apologise during delays. They don’t over-promise.
  • They explained the forms you had to complete to ensure you were all right before signing them.
  • The cashier was also nice and welcoming, and ensured my name was the same as keyed into the computer to avoid any mistakes.
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Samuel and George, it felt great to be back despite the premium charges – but hey, customers sometimes don’t mind paying premium charges if the service delivery is good. Sorry for putting you on the carpet, but please – on a more humorous note, you can add some biscuits and pie or some Ghanaian ‘bofrot’ to the ‘Benz beverage’ to ensure we return home full! Don’t forget, there was no Cappuccino! This is GH for you…..Now, back to my story.

My Personal Experiences with Suspicious Fraudsters

Last week, I gave some statistics about research conducted in 2017 in South Africa. These days, many customers prefer their bank correspondence to be sent through e-mails. Does it mean that illiterates receive their bank statements through the post? As for transaction advices, it is compulsory that they are sent through SMS messages on the cellphone. The South African report is really nothing new. I have had my own issues with fraudsters. However, as a banker with risk management awareness, I have manoeuvred my way through these scams. I call it the ‘The Click Here Syndrome’. My list includes the following:

  • Strange e-mails purporting to come from persons with claims of possessing huge inheritance, mostly in millions of dollars, who want a neutral party’s bank account to channel the funds through. The first thing I do is DELETE them, fast!
  • Emails purporting to come from some banks (mostly from some notable West African banks) about a deadline to re-activate a bank account to avoid it being terminated! Since when did this become a reason for terminating the banker-customer relationship?
  • Notice of re-activation of a yahoo email account before it is terminated!
  • E-mails from persons claiming to be web-site designers asking to re-design my website. This can be hacked into easily.
  • Faceless persons asking for connection to my social media links.
  • Emails from courier service agencies informing you to confirm details about a shipment being made on your behalf.

All the above involve making a click to an unknown site. If you respond to the ‘Click Here’ syndrome, you will be in trouble as you face the hackers.  Don’t let the fraudsters empty your accounts.

A well-meaning Advert

Let me acknowledge a recent advert by one of the mobile money operators, which has boldly emphasised the need for non-disclosure of one’s mobile money PIN however close one is to another person. We need more of these. People in marketing will always fight against stating any potential negative effect of an advertised product. Of course that is true, but what happens during actual delivery of the service?

This advert really balanced the euphoria of mobile money functions with fraud awareness. It lists various things a man can do – until his wife asked for his PIN! Although the husband politely declined giving it, I hope this will not end with misunderstandings among couples. The PIN means Personal Identification Number – it is not negotiable. They can open a joint account to solve their problem. 

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Don’t force Digital Banking on all customers!

We live in an era when illiteracy level is high. In addition, some customers are seriously averse to digital banking. Some customers unfortunately manage to ‘sign’ application forms for various e-banking products and get logged on, even though they may not understand the brochure/guide handed to them.

Some of them think they have the right to hand over their ATM cards and e-banking passwords to their friends, spouses and children to perform banking transactions on their behalf. There are regular reports of misunderstandings between spouses and children about wrongful withdrawals. Some even dare to report their cases to the bank! If you happen to open accounts for this category of persons, please don’t force bundled products on them. Let them take one at a time and gradually assimilate the banking technicalities. The danger is that they may subsequently report that they did not select the bundled product of their own free will. Their lawyers will be ready to “chop the bank’s money small”.

I remember the case of a middle-aged man who was issued with an ATM card that he accepted reluctantly. The Sales staff met his target alright, but what happened next? Three months later he nearly fainted in the banking hall when he realised that his GH¢5,000 had been reduced to GH¢50.

What happened? He placed the ATM card and pin-mailer in his car’s glove compartment and sent the car to a workshop for body-works! Oh dear. Someone, perhaps a mechanic, was smart enough to activate the ATM and cleared the balance on a daily basis! Na who cause am? He was traumatized – and despite the damage controls done by the bank, he was never again satisfied with that bank.

Keeping away from malicious attacks is not only a responsibility of specialised agencies. This is an attitude that one develops over time while being careful – checking emails and browsing the web. Let us all avoid malicious attacks from potential hackers by not clicking on emails we do not recognise or are too good to believe. I will pause here.



Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She is the Author of two books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller: A Strategic Partner” and “My Front Desk Experience: A Young Banker’s Story”. She uses her experience and practical case studies for training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations and fraud.



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Tel: +233-0244333051/+233-0244611343

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