NBTC Office explains mobile banking apps will not suspended for now

MONDAY, MAY 27, 2024

After complaints from the public, the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission announced on Monday that people whose bank-account names differ from the names of SIM card owners would still be able to use mobile banking apps for now.

Earlier, the NBTC Office posted on its Facebook page that the measure to prevent the use of mule accounts for mobile banking would start on Monday, May 27.

The post prompted members of the public to cry foul as they feared they or their children would not be able to use mobile banking apps after Monday.

As part of the measure to prevent mule accounts from being used by call-centre scammers, the Anti-Money Laundering Office had sought cooperation from the NBTC Office to ensure that the names of owners of SIM cards or mobile-phone numbers must be the same as the owners of bank accounts tied to the phone numbers.

Many people cried foul, as they had opened mobile banking services for their under-age children, so the names of the SIM cards and bank-account names did not match.

Several said they had bought SIM cards for aged parents, so the SIM cards’ names did not match with tied bank accounts.
Some businesses and organisations also use corporate bank accounts whose names do not match with SIM card owners' names.

After the complaints, the NBTC Office removed the initial post and issued a statement to explain the measure.
The office said mobile banking services could still be used by all after Monday.

It explained that the AMLO would start checking mule accounts from that day.

The statement said the checking process would require banks to compile lists of mobile banking accounts and tied mobile-phone numbers for the AMLO to check.

The statement added that the AMLO would pass on the lists to the NBTC Office to sort out by getting telecom operators to check the names of mobile-phone numbers’ owners.

The verified mobile-phone owners’ names would be sent back to the AMLO for sending back to banks.

In case of discrepancies, the banks would have the final say on whether to terminate the account or mobile banking services or not, the NBTC Office explained.

If the owners of the mobile phones or accounts could explain the reason behind the discrepancies, the mobile banking services would not be suspended, the statement added.

The NBTC Office said it would hold a meeting with telecom operators soon to find measures to make it more convenient for mobile-phone users to change the names of SIM card owners.