“I can never recommend this useless company (Wallets Africa). My account has not been activated since I opened it with them and it’s going on for five months. And I went and transferred some cash into it and to bring it out is a problem,”– A Wallets Africa user, Charles Okwuanga says
But he is not the only one, as hundreds of stories follow the same pattern. You would ask: is this the case of the pastor who is being witch-hunted? Not a comic relief.
On February 28, Victor Chubiyojo Daniel sent a complaint to Wallets Africa, outlining how he made transactions on the platform, and none of them reflected at the intended destination.
“I tried to make a payment of ₦5,000 on February 21, 2023, but the transaction failed and the money was deducted,” Victor told Technext.
He was riding on the cashless policy wave and wanted to use a Fintech platform where transactions run smoothly – as traditional banks have become predominantly unreliable.
“After five minutes, I decided to transfer the balance of ₦10,980 out of the account into an Opay account. The same thing happened, and it has not been reversed. By this time, I haven’t read online about how poor their services are,” Victor continues.
He said he could not vote as he wanted to use the money to travel to where he would vote.
In the mail exchange seen by Technext, Wallets Africa stopped responding. Victor used a different email so that they could start on a clean slate. The company responded once, and that was it.
In its response, Wallets Africa mentions “unusual traffic” that the team is working to resolve. The response also stated that Victor’s money would be refunded – this is still pending as of March 8, 2023.
Victor resorted to asking on Twitter, hoping for a favourable response, but the fintech platform blocked him.
“Their phone numbers have been switched off also. And, I don’t know why CBN will allow such a company to operate in Nigeria when you can’t reach out to customer support.”
Indeed, disenfranchisement comes in different forms.
For Ismail Amuda, Wallets Africa “are scammers.”
His reason is that he “deposited ₦150,000 to fund the virtual card. It was not working, so I stopped the transaction and tried to withdraw ₦49,000 which failed, but I was charged…after trying severally, I tried to log in the following day and got a message that the account has been blocked.”
Wallets Africa is a registered third-party agent with Visa International. The Wallets Africa prepaid card is issued through a tripartite agreement with United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Global Technology Partners pursuant to a license from VISA. The account numbers are issued through partnerships with Woven Finance Limited and Fidelity Bank Plc. Transactions are processed through a strategic partnership with Woven and Coinbase.
On February 22, 2023, the Foundation for Investigative Journalism published the story of a banker who accused Wallets Africa of “withholding his ₦25,000 and preventing him from accessing their services.”
In the report, the banker narrated his experience, from creating an account with the platform on February 1, 2023, when he needed a payment platform to purchase a service online.
‘He said since he deposited in his account, he had not withdrawn his money or purchased any online product.’
According to FIJ, the banker recounted his experience: “when I funded my account, the whole page became accessible. I decided to see how the platform worked by trying to recharge this phone, but the app told me to upload some documents. I did but was never successful.”
Like Victor Daniel, the user sent emails only that this time, he got a response that the email was not registered. He also was blocked on Twitter.
For Blessed Osbert Inyang, the pain of inaccessibility to one’s money spans months.
He wrote on Facebook:
“Wallets Africa is a big scam. I opened an account in July (2022) and transferred ₦50,000 to the app the same day. They took a deposit fee of ₦490.50 and left me with ₦4,9450.00. Since then, I tried taking my money out, but they kept saying I was not verified. I kept writing customer services but no response. I reported to an independent investigator who wrote to them before they verified my account the following day after the guy wrote to them. Instead of withdrawing, I used ₦49,000.00 to buy $70 and till today my wallet has not been loaded and my naira has not been refunded.
“I wanted to buy CFA so I transferred ₦100,000 and they took ₦1,000 leaving ₦99,000. When I couldn’t buy the CFA because of their useless platform issue, I attempted cashing out but the money was not delivered as it failed to go through. The money also was not refunded to my wallet. I sent an email to complain, no response, I called customer service and the number was not going through. Now how can I lose ₦150,000 to a scam platform like this? This is horrible. Everyone should join hands and report this site to EFCC so that they can be stopped from their scam activities.”
This is from social media:
This is the worst online banking platform I have ever come across. They are thieves. They will hold your fund and keep telling you to be patient.Richard Hezekiah, May 5, 2022
This service is very bad. They are not working at all.Dubem Angusee, August 22, 2022
If you are reading this-
Do not try to use wallets Africa.
Do not try engaging in their service.
If u want peace, but if u choose vawulence, u can proceed- PBUY.
This is an awareness tweet about @walletsafrica as I’ve seen various tweets by scam victims. Ask yourself what kind of financial company would lock comments on their tweet. Check the quotes and run far from them.@HisLawdship, March 4, 2023
Please Help @walletsafrica My transaction has been pending for almost two months I’d deeply appreciate – @Jedidiah_Austin, March 6, 2023
But your app is not working I have a failed transaction since Feb 18 waiting to be reversed, please do something about it.@johnese02, March 7, 2023
I opened a @walletsafrica account and funded the account to carry out a transaction but my limit has stayed on zero even after KYC. Sent a message to the live support on the app, on Facebook too but there’s been no response. It’s close to a week now and I can’t extract the funds.@_williamspraise, March 6, 2023
I posted about @walletsafrica some days ago, I expected them to take a cue from my post to do better, but instead, they blocked me. We’ve heard you loud and clear! We will do the needful – @ogtosin, March 4, 2023
You ask a question and lock out your comment section because you know your technology has issues and that people will complain in mass. Do go and fix the issues or just return people’s money and shut down @walletsafrica@EgboTimson, March 2, 2023
When Wallets Africa responds
When we reached out to Wallets Africa, the Founder and CEO, John Oke, responded simply:
Majority of the claims are not true.
This is a familiar pattern
Charles Okwuanga, in response to our questions, said: “All I know is that they are the worst in service and communication rendering.”
On November 14, Johnson Okunade created an account on Wallets Africa. He funded the account with ₦26,600, so he could create a virtual dollar card to pay for domain and hosting services on Namecheap.
“Unfortunately, since then, I’ve tried using the Veriff Verication integrated into the platform to no avail. After getting verified by veriff, the account remains restricted and I’ve been unable to send out my ₦26,600 which seems fraudulent to me as no one responds via their support desk,” Johnson said.
He sent a message to John Oke on LinkedIn on December 23, who simply sent a link and moved on.
It is the same story for Fatima Kassim Abdullahi.
“I have an account with Wallets Africa which I funded immediately. Unfortunately for me, verifying the account is not going through. They know what they did with the verification as you cannot complete the process. It will terminate at a certain point. I try to reach them for assistance, but nobody is there to attend to my request for over five months.”
Fatima adds: “It is just recently that they started to allow people to comment on their Twitter page. Before, comments are always closed for you to lodge complaints.”
Blessed Osbert Inyang insists Wallets Africa is a scam platform and has written several comments on Facebook in this light.
Are consumers protected in any way?
In a circular dated December 20, 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued Customer Protection Regulations “to improve overall compliance with the Customer Protection Framework (CPF) – released November 7, 2016 – by banks, and other financial and non-bank financial institutions (regulated institutions). The Regulations prescribe far-reaching requirements on Fair Treatment of Consumers; Disclosure and Transparency; Responsible Business Conduct; and Complaints Handling and Redress, in line with the principles enunciated in the CPF.”
The objectives of the Regulations are to protect consumers:
- From unfair and exploitative practices by Institutions in their dealings with consumers;
- From unethical and predatory practices that undermine consumer confidence in the use of financial products and services;
- Against the provision of inadequate and misleading information and/ or failure to disclose material information;
- By ensuring access to complaint redress mechanisms that are free, fair, timely, transparent, accessible and independent; and
- By encouraging transparency of Institutions in their dealings with consumers.
Zooming in, the Regulations further state that companies:
- Respond to customers’ enquiries/requests within five (5) working days of receiving the enquiries/requests.
- Not act in a manner that is inconsistent with the terms and conditions of their contracts with their customers.
- Provide clear information about products and services, features, terms and conditions and the applicable fees and charges.
Is Wallets Africa culpable?
Above, we only drew out the regulations as per this case. It is a comprehensive document and has several other regulations for financial institutions. The CBN is interested in customer satisfaction and is reportedly keen to clamp down on issues that affect customers directly.
In other words, since customers have reported (and proven) that their monies have been held down and communication with the company – Wallets Africa – to resolve the issues has seemed almost impossible, John Oke and ‘his team’ may have questions to answer.
Customers would be interested in knowing the cause of the failed transactions and the delayed reversals. Are there technical issues to be addressed? Also, what is the company doing about it, and why is there limited communication from the company when customers’ money is involved?
Aggrieved customers can contact the CBN to make legitimate complaints about Wallets Africa. This can be done through the provided email address to receive ‘Complaints Against Financial Institutions’: [email protected], according to the CBN website or via the verified social media handle of the apex bank.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!