A number of KCB customers have raised concern over un-explained cash deductions on their bank accounts, even as the lender yesterday moved to assure clients that their money was safe.
KCB Group customers have over the past week complained that their account balances were incorrect, with most reporting suspicious debit transactions that in some instances wiped out their bank balances leaving others in a negative position.
Panicked customers even took to social media to voice their complaints.
The bank, in a statement, Wednesday insisted that the customers’ cash was safe without explaining why the dubious transactions were taking place or the remedial actions it had taken.
“KCB is aware of social media conversations regarding allegations of unauthorised deductions in clients’ accounts,” the lender said in a brief response to our queries on the matter.
“As a trusted financial partner, we take our duty of confidentiality to our customers seriously and resolve any issues that may arise directly with the customer.”
The affected customers who have shared their complaints say they have lost amounts ranging from a few thousand shillings to nearly Sh100,000.
One KCB customer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, narrated how Sh8,000 was last week debited from his account without his knowledge.
The bank’s staff, when asked to explain the transaction, insisted that the customer withdrew the funds using its mobile money platform, a charge he denied.
The bank requested for time to conduct a forensic audit of the transaction to determine what really happened – an inspection it said would take over a month.
On Tuesday however KCB credited the Sh8,000 back into the customer’s account, while offering minimal explanation as to why it was deducted in the first place.
“We advise that the issue has been resolved. The transaction has been reversed back into the account,” a KCB staffer told the affected customer via its social media platform.
Banks have in recent years stepped up use of internet and app-based banking as they run away from the costly business of bricks-and-mortar. Customers have in turn embraced these new transaction channels due to their convenience.
However, this move to digitise has opened up the lenders to new risks that could be either unintentional – system malfunctions – or intentional through theft by external and internal parties.
Just last month, the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) said it had stopped an attempted theft of Sh29 million in a case where hackers tried to transfer deposits to mobile money accounts.
In December the Commercial Bank of Africa’s mobile money service, M-Shwari, was hit by a system malfunction that saw customers report similar, unexplained bank account deductions.
Kenyan banks in September confirmed a cyberattack on their inter-bank money transfer platform PesaLink, but said neither cash nor customer data was lost or stolen.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has raised the red flag as its Banking Fraud and Investigation Department has noted increased cases of ICT-related fraud in the sector.
“Another emerging threat has been cybercrime where criminals gain unauthorised access to institutions’ computer programs and data,” the banking regulator has said.
“As a result, there is an urgent need for the banking sector management to ensure increased use of computer-based transaction process is matched with effective controls.”
The CBK recently introduced cyber security guidelines aimed at helping banks deal with cybercrimes and prepare for emerging threats.