Your mobile money account is your money vault and for some people it’s their only banking platform. According to Bank of Uganda(BoU), at least 22 million subscribers are currently registered for Mobile money and this figure is bound to go up. In Kenya, 48.76% of the share of Kenya’s GDP processed over M-PESA.
Why you need a PIN
If you have registered for an account on a website before, you probably already know the use a PIN. Websites collect your personal information such as full names, email, username, password to identify you. These are called credentials. Now you identify yourself to the website by entering your username and password that only you(or hopefully only you) knows. This process is called authentication.
Similarly, when you are registering for a mobile money account, the Telco collects your personal information and assigns you a four-digit PIN which you use to authenticate to your account before you transact.
But what happens if somebody steals your Mobile money PIN with or without your knowledge.
If this happens, we can relatively say they can’t do much damage to your account. To be specific, they won’t be able to steal your money by transfering it to another account or use it to pay for goods and services. That’s assuming they didn’t take your simcard too.
Your mobile money PIN is tied to your phone number or sim card. Before any transaction is authorized, the telco will send a flash message to your phone so you can enter your secret PIN. Even if the criminal has your secret PIN, it’s useless unless they are in possession of your phone too.
However, if you realize your PIN has been compromised, the first thing you need to do is change it immediately. Login to your account, and find the option for changing PIN. If they stole both your PIN and your phone/simcard, then you need to immediately alert your mobile money provider to lock your account. Then you’ll have to get a police letter and then go to the service center and replace your Sim Card plus reset your PIN.
Now to avoid PIN theft in the first place, don’t share it with anyone unless they are trusted member of your family. Don’t even write it down in a piece of paper either. Just keep as a memory in your head. If you have forgotten the PIN, you can always call your mobile money service provider or walk to service center to reset it.