Safaricom is set to give merchants access to photo identification technology in a bid to reduce fraud on its m-Pesa platform, Business Daily reported.
Safaricom is already distributing pre-programmed smartphones to m-Pesa agents to verify the identity of customers. These handsets have software built-in to enable verification against images taken when the SIM card was purchased and other nationally held data.
Vendors with the devices will also be required to take images of all new registrants, which will then be stored in a database for verification of future transactions. This is in addition to current procedures, which include recording the new user’s name, ID card number and postal address.
M-Pesa is Kenya’s dominant mobile payment service and become a blueprint for similar services across developing markets. However, its wide usage also made the platform and its users a target for criminals.
In addition to well-documented hacking attempts against the company, there are regular reports in the Kenyan media of scams targeted at users to extort money using the platform.
Announcing the new photo ID scheme, Safaricom corporate affairs director Stephen Chege told the publication the new system of registration would eliminate the use of stolen personal ID to commit fraud.