Nigeria: Sallah - Nigerians Lament Poor Online Banking Services

For the past few days, Nigerians have lamented the poor online banking services experienced even as Sallah commences.

Just like during every other holiday, a lot of transactions take place, ranging from transfer of money to relatives, payment for shopping or even withdrawal to have cash at hand.

But there have been complaints from customers of various commercial banks on the hassle they go through accessing banking services especially through USSD codes, Mobile apps, and even Point of Sale System (PoS).

Since the advent of smartphones, a lot of Nigerians have made mobile app banking their preferred online digital platform for making financial transactions.

Complaints

Asides from the complaints lodged by users on various banking platforms and on official Twitter handles of some banks, some bank users spoke with PREMIUM TIMES.

Olamide Ishola, a store owner in Lagos, explained how frustrated payment has been for her over the week.

She said her First Bank POS machine declines payment and debits the account owners while transfers done through mobile app and USSD code rarely get to her account on time.

"Generally, for some days now this is what we have been facing, coupled with the Ileya festival. I still have pending N72,000 from different customers since yesterday and the customers were debited but I have not been credited," she said.

Also, a designer in Ibadan, Olatunji Harry, said he was "really frustrated yesterday when he could not access his Stanbic IBTC mobile banking app and POS kept declining his ATM card".

"Someone at the mechanic workshop said I was facing difficulty in accessing my app because I have not upgraded the app, he advised I did. After upgrade, I was still unable to access it, it kept loading and even the POS I tried to use debited me while declining me.

"The only people that were able to get cash from the POS were the ones that were able to transfer to the agent's account. ATM/POS was completely useless," he said.

Deborah Ejemeka narrated how she was also debited twice without the other party being credited on Wednesday.

"I ordered for food and they brought it with POS. My GTB ATM card was declined thrice and I was debited twice and it has not been reversed. I also tried using the USSD code when my app refused to open, it kept giving me an error message," she said.

Complaints galore

Meanwhile, bank customers have taken to their banks' official twitter handles to lodge their various complaints.

"I was debited yesterday trying to pay bills with my mobile app and the transaction wasn't successful, I'm yet to be refunded, why?" a user tweeted at Access Bank.

"This is not getting funny at all. I called severally yesterday and I was told the compliance officer needs to reply a particular mail. I need quick action this morning do I can purchase and deliver the car to the owner please for God's sake... Haba what kind of bank is this" another tweeted at Polaris bank.

"Useless bank ever. Complained about my unsuccessful transaction that I was debited. U responded by telling me to provide my details which I did. Since then no word from u again.. Who does that? This is the most useless bank ever. 😡😡" tweeted at FCMB.

Comments like these were seen on the official twitter accounts of UBA, Ecobank, Zenith, Fidelity, Standard Chartered, Sterling, Union, and Wema banks.

Attempts made to get comments from these banks through their official social media accounts were unsuccessful as none of them replied.

Also, the spokespersons of the mentioned banks all refused to pick calls and reply to messages sent to them on the matter.

Complaint Commission responds

Responding to PREMIUM TIMES, the Director, Surveillance & Enforcement, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Shamm Kolo, said the commission is aware of the issue.

He urged consumers to be vigilant and report to their service providers immediately they notice any 'discrepancy'.

He advised the affected consumers to escalate the complaint to the commission, "using our mobile app on either Google or iOS App store if the service provider fails to act".

"If we receive any complaint in that respect, we would handle it in line with our complaint redress protocol," he said. "In order not to put undue pressure on online banking facilities, we recently wrote to all banks in the country, including CBN, on the need to ensure customer comfort and satisfaction while complying with the PTF protocols and guidelines during this COVID-19 period. Issues raised in our correspondence included easy access to the bank for seamless transactions, the comfort of customers while waiting, improvement in ATM services with enough cash availability, and improvement in online customer service."

"Next week, we plan to engage CBN on the issue of closure of branches by many of the banks, thus forcing unacceptable clusters of consumers in the few branches that are open," he said.

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