Equity scales up security for its online, phone banking

Equity Group Holdings managing director James Mwangi. PHOTO | FILE
Equity Group Holdings managing director James Mwangi. PHOTO | FILE 

Equity Bank has entered into an agreement with a South Africa-based authentication firm, Entersekt, to strengthen security of its online and mobile phone based services as it seeks to deepen its presence in digital banking.

Under the agreement, Equity Bank will integrate Entersekt’s software that requires users to provide two means of identification from separate categories of credentials.

Equity Bank in a statement Tuesday said that the partnership will enable it to enhance its security on its mobile banking, mobile money transfer, e-commerce, call centre and in-branch interactions.

It will use digital certificates and proprietary validation techniques to provide secure payment and banking services.

Banks have been seeking to transit from the traditional brick and mortar by embracing online and mobile banking to cut cost and also improve efficiency.

This has, however, offered a fertile ground for cybercriminals, forcing the financial institutions to seek better security controls.   

Kenya Cyber Security Report 2015 showed that annual cybercrime in the country is approximately Sh15 billion, with the financial services accounting for about Sh4 billion.

James Mwangi, the Equity Group Holdings managing director, described the partnership as a strategic effort to guarantee the integrity of its digital financial services platforms.

“At Equity Group we are riding the wave of digital convenience and our association with Entersekt will afford us a rare opportunity to deliver banking services on multiple digital platforms,” said Mr Mwangi, adding, “the provision of digital banking solutions is part of Equity Group’s commitment to deepen financial inclusion in Africa.”

“By leveraging the enormous popularity of mobile devices, their support of digital certificates and encryption, as well as their user-friendly interfaces, Entersekt’s solutions enable banks to offer innovative banking capabilities without exposing their customers to fraud,” said Gerhard Oosthuizen, chief information officer at Entersekt.

“The deployment of Entersekt extends Equity’s robust mobile strategy and, along with our Equitel MVNO initiative, will provide our customers with Africa’s most secure payments products and services,” said Ronald Webb, director of payments at Equity Bank.