Tigo’s CTIO hopes biometric registration will safeguard money transfer

11Apr 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Tigo’s CTIO hopes biometric registration will safeguard money transfer

In this interview with Tigo’s Chief Technical and Information Officer, Jerome Albou, The Banker’s Reporter asks how safe is the recently launched Tigo Pesa application and the future of safety on sending money using such platforms, excerpts:

Tigo’s Chief Technical and Information Officer, Jerome Albou

After your recent launch of the Tigo Pesa application, how user friendly has it been?

User experience is one of Tigo’s focus to ensure that it is as easy and friendly to use the application hence listen to feedback from users which they share with us that sometimes force us to include new features and functionality on a monthly basis, if necessary. Our social media also plays a key role to adjust and ensure that we are taking the product to the next level, hence improving our digital portfolio while building new innovative products and features.

How does the application ensure security of customers’ money?

First of all, we ensure that all the information is properly end-to-end encrypted because it is a very important step to make sure that date is kept in a very safe environment. We have also been certified in 2018 by the GSMA and ISO for Tigo Pesa processes and information security but in addition, also monitor the Tigo Pesa systems all the time, day and night to check against possible misuse or fraud and keep updating the security protocols accordingly. As a matter of fact, while we allow Tigo Pesa App to be used on WiFi or on other networks, we have recently introduced the One Time Password (OTP) via text messaging to confirm that you are also the Tigo SIM holder. With the introduction of full biometric registration in the year to come, security will be even more strengthened.

What advantage does the Tigo Pesa App have over the normal USSD access?

It is more user friendly because while we make sure that all the services are available both on Tigo Pesa App and USSD platforms, there are some nice additional functionalities such as being able to look up contacts directly from the phone contacts, or saving the Luku details in my favorites for future purchase. Once you get access to Tigo Pesa App, you just forget USSD.

There have been several cases whereby a customer sends money mistakenly to another person, how does this new application serve in retrieving such monies?

We have introduced a self-care feature in both USSD and the new application which allows customers who sent money by mistake to initiate self-reversal and block the money until the reversal is confirmed by all parties. It is very important though for customers to make sure that they enter the right phone number. To facilitate this, we have included the name check functionality before confirming the transfer for both Tigo Pesa user and the recipients.

 Does the Tigo Pesa App have the ability to work offline? If not, does Tigo have plans to make this possible?

Unfortunately, the Tigo Pesa App does not work offline for security reasons but if you use the application Tigo network, it is zero rated, meaning that if you do not have airtime, one can still use the network.

Does the application work using other carrier networks?

This application works on any network or on Wifi but for security reasons, an OTP will be regularly sent to the user’s Tigo SIM to confirm that the right user is using the Tigo Pesa App. The application can also be used abroad, with additional security features.

So it means those with feature phones or 'vitochi' can’t access the application?

Feature phone owners (vitochi) can access Tigo Pesa services via a very simplified and user friendly USSD menu.