Banks have a role in encouraging mindful online behaviour

Standard Bank personal and private digital and ecommerce head Belinda Rathogwa

Standard Bank personal and private digital and ecommerce head Belinda Rathogwa

21st August 2023

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Financial services organisations have an important role to play in informing and encouraging their clients to be vigilant when using digital platforms as fraud and cybersecurity risks continue to evolve, says Standard Bank personal and private digital and e-commerce head Belinda Rathogwa.

"Digitalisation has enabled more people to access services such as public or financial services more easily. However, cybersecurity risks remain a concern. This is why Standard Bank is committed to ensuring that our clients understand how to stay safe when using digital platforms," she says.

Banks must support clients and help safeguard their finances, she says.

Banks, by necessity, have comprehensive measures in place to protect their clients. As a result, fraudsters are increasingly focusing on finding ways to mislead clients to compromise sensitive information.

Cybersecurity threats, such as malware, manifest when clients unwittingly install malicious software on their devices, thereby compromising the security of their personal information.

Standard Bank strongly encourages clients to keep the security software on their personal computers or smartphone updated, as this strengthens their cybersecurity. The bank also warns clients to be wary of individuals who request remote access to their devices, as this gives such individuals control to install malicious software without clients’ knowledge, she adds.

Further, cybersecurity attacks are increasingly taking the form of social engineering attacks, such as phishing and vishing, that invoke fear or promise unrealistic returns. In such cases, fraudsters may claim to represent the bank or a partner company and create a sense of urgency or uncertainty, leading individuals to click a malicious link or reveal sensitive information that can be used to defraud them or their companies.

Banks are particularly concerned about this because they need to ensure their clients fully understand how to keep themselves safe when using digital platforms, she notes.

Standard Bank uses various channels to inform and remind clients that the bank will never ask for sensitive information, such as client’s card numbers, passwords and one-time pins over the phone or via email or short-message services.

Clients should independently check with the bank if they have any queries or doubts, Rathogwa emphasises.

The bank has a dedicated contact number (0800 222 050) that clients can call at any time to verify whether the bank has contacted them, or how they should respond to a specific request purporting to be from the bank or a partner organisation.

"We have created a security centre where clients can report fraud and get information on how to protect themselves against cyberthreats. Clients can access the security centre on the banking application or on the Standard Bank website. In addition, we extensively use community radio to inform our clients of cybersecurity considerations in their home language.

"Encouraging considered, careful actions among our clients is crucial to ensure they can protect themselves and their finances while navigating the increasingly digital world and enjoying quicker, easier access to many different services," she emphasises.

"By reinforcing our messaging from the day we onboard clients onto our platforms, and when appropriate during other interactions, we can help our clients manage the risks and enjoy the benefits and opportunities presented by digitalisation," she adds.


While digitalisation of the economy and services is helping to reduce the effort and cost required for citizens to access services, it is also enabling new services to be created.

"Digital does not only mean convenient transacting and accessing of information, but also novel services, functions and features, such as individuals being able to use the bank to create a budget for them, or businesses to conduct cross border trade seamlessly, aided by trade platforms, among many others," she explains.

Digital financial platforms are important to support and drive growth in Africa by making it simple, convenient and transparent for individuals and companies to transact, interact and use services.

"Real-time information and the ability to make payments in real-time in every part of the value chain is valuable. For example, a farmer having ready information to determine the best deal for his produce helps the farm to be more sustainable, and buyers would similarly have greater visibility to farmers and thereby help them to get the best deals."

"Easing the ability of individuals and companies to transact and trade is a powerful enabler. And helping them simultaneously to develop healthy financial and digital habits will drive behavioural change and growth in the use of services, which will help to drive overall economic growth," she says.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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