Warning- instant EFTs are not safe!

A friend of mine recently made use of an “instant EFT” payment facility offered on the website of an online retailer. Not being familiar with this payment method, I did some research and came across a statement published by the South African Reserve Bank in November 2020. This statement describes an instant EFT payment as:

“a payment method offered by a third party, in partnership with e-commerce stores, which automates the initiation of payments for consumers to e-commerce stores and also provides immediate confirmation of payment to the e-commerce store to enable them to dispatch the goods or services purchased.

Instant EFT payments use a method called ‘screen scraping’, which makes it possible for third parties to access bank account data and automate actions on behalf of a consumer using that consumer’s online banking access credentials. The access to the consumer’s screen data is then used to facilitate payments.”

I was horrified to read about all the risks associated with an instant EFT payment, not least of which is that it involves breaching of your bank’s terms and conditions. You are never allowed to disclose your internet banking log-in and passwords to anyone, and an instant EFT requires you to type those in on the online retailer’s website. Consequently, if you make use of an instant EFT payment facility and you fall victim to fraud, your bank will not come to your assistance.


If you notice that the website on which you’re making a purchase is asking you to pay by instant EFT, you should be hearing loud warning bells- it’s likely you’re dealing with an online fraudster.

Here is a link to the statement published by the South African Reserve Bank and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority. We strongly advise that you avoid ever making use of an instant EFT payment.


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