FNB Zambia collaborates with VISA to launch Visa Card Security Awareness Campaign

Central Bank holds a skimmer,a high tech device fraudstars use to copy information off a VISA Card - Lusakavoice.com
VISA Country Manager Salome Makau explainsn the safety measure VISA has put in place to curb fraud - Lusakavoice.com
VISA Country Manager Salome Makau explainsn the safety measure VISA has put in place to curb fraud – Lusakavoice.com

In South Africa alone, VISA Card purchases by FNB customers have surpassed cash purchases for the first time twelve months, a spending trend that has also given rise to more calls for VISA Card security, the main topic covered when FNB, together with VISA, launched VISA Card Safety Week on the 13th of November 2013.

The VISA Card Safety Week aimed to give FNB customers tips on how to avoid fraud ahead of the Festive Season Holidays. Speaking at FNB headquarters at Acacia Park in Lusaka, FNB Zambia CEO Sarel Van Zyl said.  “We are really passionate about customer service and this joint venture of making aware the dangers of VISA Card fraud is one of our value added services. We are always asking ourselves what we can do to make our customers lives easy and this is one initiative to make sure that people don’t just transact but they do it safely.”

With more than 50 years of operation in more than 200 countries worldwide, VISA is a global payments technology company that places the security of its customers at number one. Capable of handling more than 30,000 a second, fraud protection is a top priority for VISA and they have taken steps to educate consumers about the dangers of Card fraud.

Salome Makau, country manager for VISA Zambia said, “More and more people are moving away from cash spending to electronic spending but with technology comes a certain risk. The best way to stop fraud is to prevent it and stop it before it happens and the best defence against fraud is an informed user.”


VISA has put up measures to stop fraud and stop suspect transactions before any damage can be done. She explained, “If there are transactions on the same card from two different countries in a space of an hour, VISA flags the transaction and informs the bank that issued the card to make sure the transaction is legit. Every transaction that goes through VISA’s network is analysed against the global data on its database and if the system suspects fraud, the transaction is stopped and followed up with Card holder’s bank.”


Cyber criminals are always lurking in electronic shadows waiting to pounce on unwary VISA Card users and VISA’s job is to track trends in fraud and stay a step ahead of fraudsters.  Salome said VISA has introduced new products to step up online security. “We have launched a product called VbyV which stands for Verified by Visa to safeguard online transactions, especially Card Not Present transactions. Instead of just asking for the card holders name and PIN, VbyV has a second level authentication to ensure that a transaction is really being carried by the rightful card holder.


Central Bank holds a skimmer,a high tech device fraudstars use to copy information off a VISA Card - Lusakavoice.com
Central Bank holds a skimmer,a high tech device fraudstars use to copy information off a VISA Card – Lusakavoice.com

CNP or Card Not Present transaction fraud refers to fraud done remotely through the internet or phone. There has been an increase of CNP fraud over the years. In 2010 in Sub Saharan Africa alone, CPN accounted for 45% of all Card fraud. Two years later, 68 % of fraud was attributed to CPN, a trend that prompted VISA to start an awareness campaign. Salome points out the necessary. “With such trends of CPN fraud we cannot be complacent and only think of face to face fraud, we have to make sure our bases are covered. We have to innovate in anticipation of fraud and stay on our guard. Initially all VISA cards just had just the magnetic black strip on the back but overtime it has been found that it is not enough to secure transactions so VISA advises all banks to issue out the new  chip and PIN Cards that offer additional levels of security.”





Most people with an email address may have received an email telling them that they have won the lotto so they should give their bank account number to receive the money. This type of fraud is called phishing, which is online activity that attempts to retrieve personal information such a bank details, driver’s license from customers. Sometimes it comes in form of a virus attached in an email that’s why it is important to delete suspicious looking emails without opening them. Smishing uses cell phone text messages to lure consumers into giving away personal information so customers should not reply to any messages asking them for information. Zanaco Bank PLC, one of the leading banks in Zambia has been sending warning messages to its customers asking them to watch out for fraud. The messages read “Zanaco does not send messages asking you to change your XAPIT PIN. Ignore msg you have received asking you to do this. If you replied please call 5000.”


Henk Vermuelen, FNB Card Security Specialist says card users should making sure there is no one close behind them at the ATM and should not ask for help from strangers with transactions. He also highlighted the common mistakes Card holders make. “When people get their Visa Cards for the first time they are asked to change the PIN on first use but the mistakes they make, especially old people, is change it to obvious numbers like their date of birth, marriage date or child’s graduation year. These numbers are too obvious and can be easily found out by fraudsters if they have your card.”


FNB Slimline Cashless ATM - Lusakavoice.com
FNB Slimline Cashless ATM – Lusakavoice.com

Other types of Card fraud, such as skimming and cloning are so prevalent that 38% of fraud investigations in Africa are related to skimming and cloning of VISA Cards. Mr Vermuelen elaborates and offers more advise. “Fraudsters use small high tech devices to skim or swipe information off a card and copy it onto another card without the card owner knowing what happened. This can happen at gas stations or at ATMs, that’s why Card owners should always have their cards in sight. Fraudsters have stepped up their game, going as far as attaching their own subtle cameras on ATMs so it is advisable to cover the keypad while entering your PIN at the ATM.”

The number of fraud incidents is staggering and Mr Vermuelen gave an example how bad it can get. “During the 2010 World Cup alone, more than 6000 incidents of Card fraud occurred where unknown people called hotels and guest houses and booked rooms with other people’s cards and then days later gave excuses saying they could not occupy the rooms so they asked for refunds, and that’s how both the hotels and unwary card owners were victims of fraud.”

In their effort to safeguard their customers money, FNB Zambia are in the process of rolling out their new cashless ATM called the Slimline that gives out a voucher which the customer can then use to purchase goods and services. One of these Slimline ATMs can be found Food Lovers at Levy Junction Mall in Lusaka.

But as it is now clear, the best defence against fraud is an informed and careful user. The need for caution can’t be stressed enough and the launch of the VISA Card security week by FNB Zambia and VISA comes at the right time when business is booming in Zambia and more and more people are spending their money using their VISA Cards.


By  Hope Mkunte