Digital financial literacy is crucial

David Birungi

What you need to know:

‘‘Somehow men’s WhatsApp and galleries tend to have complex lock patterns. Let’s migrate them to other apps"

Rose wore a flair of sophistication we admired from a distance. She was held in awe because she understood the language of money. She inched in closer and whispered to me “David, cash creates a potential for it to be stolen even if someone is not a thief. Keep away cash”.
That’s all I remember about that cold September 2009 morning interaction with my trainer, Rose Tumwemere, who was kind enough to share her wisdom.
Around that same time, in Korea, Dr Yuhyun Park started an educational initiative that empowered children with digital citizenship skills. The initiative, now supported by the World Economic Forum, has evolved into the Digital Quotient Institute (DQI) whose vision is to empower every individual, organisation, and nation with digital intelligence to achieve their wellbeing, safety, and prosperity in the digital age.
Many years down the road, neither Rose, nor myself can recognise that old face of money. Dr Yuhyun’s pioneer children are now adults transacting mostly online. Money has evolved, cash remains king.
Mobile Money, and all related e-commerce, has expanded in many transformative ways. While society enjoys the undeniable benefits of this evolution, we must be reflective on the latent potential of cash that Rose was impassioned to convey.
Digital quotient, at an individual level, is the ability to safely use the digital assets available to create value for oneself, others, teams, and the community while maintaining the required security of personal and others data and privacy. It involves the discernment of useful and harmful information and taking necessary steps to protect yourself and others from such.
While it sounds good to have Google’s “All of Google. One Login it” when it comes to our cultural setting, it may not be advisable. Google has the financial and technical resources to pull that off, with your assistance.
In the latest BoU Financial Capability survey 2020, it was revealed that less than nine percent of adults indicated awareness of digital risks such as hawking, fraudulent transactions, cyberbullying, phishing, non-transparent transaction cost, pharming, keylogging, and rogue security software. Majority of our people are still exposed.
It is dangerous, for example, to have one PIN that opens your phone, your Mobile Money, your banking app, and your Taxi hailing app. Somehow men’s WhatsApp and galleries tend to have complex lock patterns. Let’s migrate them to other apps.
Legend has it that you can’t be represented in sickness, exams, and marriage vows. E-commerce password management should be added to this list. PINs, One Time Passwords (OTPs) should never be shared whatsoever. Your good intentions may be abused by someone else. An industry expert spoken to for purposes of this article intimated that the majority of fraud cases involving sharing of password/PINs involve close relations, sometimes spouses and children.
We have also witnessed cases where fraudsters have gone to extreme cases of attacking their victims, breaking into their cars, homes, cutting off their bags just to gain access to their phones and laptops whose passwords they know.
In case you share your PINS, take a few minutes, and change all your PINs, at least once a month.
While ABCD and 1234 PINs are good for our introductory kindergarten classes, they have no place in a modern digital finance world. Even kids’ video games don’t accept them.
While our attention is drawn quickly to the money we normally have on our phones, any intruder to your email or other communication tools has the potential to fraudulently resign you from your job or end your marriage.

In real life we do not greet every stranger we meet. Even politicians at an election rally can’t do it. In the same vein, we should not respond to each link, message, video that pops up on our screens. That single action of ignoring these messages will save us the pain of losing our data and hard-earned money.
Lastly, as we browse the internet, we keep saving cookies or temporary files on phones. They sometimes contain information about the online payments you made and how you made them. It is important to clear these cookies at the end of each browsing session.
The author Mr David Birungi, Public Relations Manager, Airtel Uganda [email protected]


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