Online shopping is going to be big this Black Friday and to keep South Africans and their money safe, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has warned against using instant EFT.

While really quick and useful, the SARB says that this faster version of the “normal” EFT uses a screen-scraping process that opens up risks for consumers.

Screen-scraping is a process where third parties get access to a consumer’s bank account data and automate actions on behalf of a consumer using these credentials.

The bank explains that this process risks the consumer’s data privacy, increases the risk of fraud and could result in losing out on money as EFT payments are final.

“As the global economy experiences an increase in the use of electronic payments and online shopping, and considering the growing role of financial technology (fintech) in payments, online crimes are increasing,” said the SARB.

“It is becoming even more important for consumers to educate themselves on the risks and benefits of using online means to make payments or order goods and services. It is also becoming exceptionally difficult for regulators and the financial industry alike to keep up with such crimes before a loss is experienced by either party.”

To help consumers, the SARB has released some important tips:

– Consumers need to be extra vigilant. They need to do all their checks, including contacting their banks for advice, before proceeding with something marketed and disguised under the premise of convenience.

– Consumers should use industry-supported solutions, like paying with their cards (debit or credit cards) or applications like SnapScan.

– Consumers should not share their Internet banking login credentials with any third party.

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