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Here in Zimbabwe, the use of mobile money is becoming more prevalent as people adopt cash alternatives for transactions. The technology is readily available and people are getting more acquainted to it with each passing moment. This has opened the door for many opportunities and as with all money matters security has to be taken seriously. While service providers play a significant role in making the platforms safe, it is advisable to make security a habit at a personal level.

Flexibility with a secure position

With most mobile money services you can use a physical card, virtual card, your mobile phone or automated online transactions to make payments. The systems are usually designed to allow you convenient access to your money. They are flexible enough to give you access to a single account from many points. For your convenience you can also access multiple accounts from a single point. You have the choice to perform the transaction yourself or to have someone do it on your behalf. With mobile money distance is not a barrier, you can transact from afar. This is unrestricted access to your money. The question is; are you the only one who has access?

Who gets unrestricted access to your money?

Under normal circumstances you require at least two things to go through your mobile wallet. Usually whoever has those things can have the same access you have. The first thing is the access point such as your sim card or debit card. Then you will need a passcode, normally a 4 digit pin. One beauty of mobile money is its traceability. You can tell its exit point and where it has gone. The unfortunate thing is that it raises your feeling of security but even with such a marked trail transferred money can disappear. The immediacy of the transactions make it easier to quickly move money from one point to another. To avoid disappointment you will have to control access to your account by keeping your phone, cards and passcodes safe.

Keeping your money safe.

Get the basics right.

Choose an unusual PIN that is hard to guess and change it often. Never store your account information, such as the account number, debit and credit card PINs, on your mobile handset.

Since you receive updates about your account on the phone protect your phone content and personal information you saved by using a PIN or Password to access your phone. Do not leave your phone unlocked.

Make sure you know how to contact your service provider for support. If you think your PIN has been compromised, change it immediately.

Do not send your passcodes and other sensitive information to via email or text messages.

To enjoy the flexibility you have to control or keep track of changes.

When you have multiple options off accessing your account you generally develop preference for a particular one. With time you may neglect the alternatives. Many people where excited to get debit cards but once they had them they put them away and continued to use their mobile phones. The debit card remained functional but unprotected. If you have multiple ways of accessing your accounts keep all of them secure.

Service providers usually send a number of messages after each transactions. Some are even received long after the transaction. You may end up ignoring them. However you should treat each update seriously. When someone tries to use your debit card you will be alerted by such messages to your phone. It’s better to lose 30 seconds to read a short message than to lose your money to fraud.

Your passcode is supposed to be a personal secret. Sometimes you entrust it to certain individuals. However, you don’t know who they trust with it. They may give it to someone else, maybe a helping hand. Make sure you know who knows your passcode and make it as temporary as possible. As soon as the reason you shared the passcode is past change the passcode.

As a general rule, keep track of changes to your account and let secrets be secrets.