In Brief

Equity Bank suffers regional downtime

Equity Bank customers across East Africa have been hit by a mobile banking downtime with the lender saying their systems have experienced ‘service degradation’ affecting thousands of customers.

Kenyans on Madaraka Day holiday were stranded on systems downtime even as regional customers also complained about difficulty in accessing services.

Equity Bank Kenya said their teams had “stabilized most services” warning customers not to engage potential fraudsters hacking them for bank details.

Equity Bank Rwanda said they were experiencing a technical interruption, resulting in the unavailability of certain services across various digital channels and local payment systems.

While Equity Bank Uganda also gave the standardised response to complaining customers trying to assure them the bank was handling the technical problems.

As lenders increasingly rely on digital systems the risk of downtimes due to technical problems and cybercrime can pose a great danger to digital adoption as frustrated customers revert to cash.

In the National Payment Strategy 2022-2025, the Central Bank of Kenya notes no matter how best the experience in terms of efficiency, technology integration, and real-time receipt of value if technology cannot be trusted, its ability to support the economy is significantly impaired.

CBK says one of its greatest fear of the pinch of inconvenience caused by downtimes, is that it might drive Kenyans away from digital currencies and from the Kenya Revenue Authority.

“As the majority of transactions remain in cash, the government may have limited visibility of most transactions. This affects the ability to collect all revenue due to it,” CBK said.

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