By, Toni Eghosa-Kruz
1986 heralded the formal introduction of the Automated Teller Machine(ATM) by the defunct Societe General Bank in Nigeria. However in october 2003, the Interswitch ATM system took off and instead of bulk withdrawals accompanied with tiresome bank queues,the electronic platform has brought productivity,proficiency and resource control to the nation’s financial institutions. The adoption by banks and its massive deployment has gained grounds to both banks and their depositors. The ATM now enables us withdraw cash at our convenient time and place even during banking hours.
Nonetheless,with this current adoption of ICT by Banks in Nigeria,faster services such as improved customer assistance with accurate records have produced largely positive outcomes but,with technology comes its disadvantages. The rapid expansion of ATMs in Nigeria has exposed the country to increasing risks of ATM fraud. In Africa’s most populous black nation, Banks are yet to fully maximize ATM security and minimize fraud which has lead to several apprehensive tendencies by depositors towards wanting to own the card.
Even as the Automated teller machine becomes more common than it ever was, its accompanied acts of fraud and swindling has skyrocketed. As at 2009, there was a massive call by individuals to scrap the ATM because of the peak of fraud the system provided and till date, the nation’s repositories have invested nothing but pefunctory methods to ensuring the ATM safety of its customers. The current upsurge of nefarious activities by ATM fraudsters now affects the decision to actually use the ATM or not. It is shameful to note that ATM user base in Nigeria since its inception is yet to cross the 10-15 million mark as the usage rate has proven its difficulties and open dupery.
1) Alertness – Be alert and conscious of your surroundings when using the ATM and never use an ATM located in a dark or obscure location as this exposes one to swindling. Be very aware of people hanging around the ATM too reporting any questionable character immediately.
2) PIN Protection – Never give your card or PIN to anyone for any reason. It is your personal identification number and shouldn’t be vulnerable. Don’t write your pin on the card or anything kept with the card.
3) Follow Instructions – Only insert your card into the vault when you’re asked to do so by the display screen of the ATM. Never use an ATM with a blank screen and if it is cryptic and dim,leave immediately to find another ATM.
4) Shield – Always stand close to the ATM when using it. Use your body and hand as shield to ensure nobody sees you when keying in your pin. Watch your back closely as well when doing this to properly avoid criminals.
5) Help? No – Never accept help from strangers when using an ATM. You should be wary of when asking strangers for help. The elderly and aged could take trusted persons from home to assist them and not at the point of processing transaction.
6) Withdrawal Limit – Most Banks nowadays advise customers to set a daily or weekly withdrawal limit on their account to avoid foul play and fraudulence. This enables cross checking and thus safeguard statements of one’s account.
7) Lookout – Criminals work in teams,one to distract you and the other to steal your money. Be on constant lookout as you are about using your card.
8) Inform on Fraud Immediately – If Your ATM has been hacked,it is advisable to quickly notify the bank to ensure blockage of your account. ATM cards are based on chips and pin and most times,the Bank in conjunction with the Police helps to trace the evil act.
9) SMS Alert – When using an ATM card, it is pertinent that one signs up for SMS or email alerts. In most banks,it is entirely free and this goes a long to way to checkmate blackmail.
As Nigeria’s e-Banking system continues to grow despite shortcomings,the relevance of the ATM cannot be overelaborated. Thus,We must all play a contributory role towards preventing attacks on customers and ensuring a safe and secure environment to carry out activities.
Reference : www.npf.gov.ng
— Twitter handle ~ @Eghosakruz.