The mKey app converges social, financial and lifestyle features. But how secure is it?

Over two and half months ago, that is in early September, Finserve Africa, Equity Group’s fintech subsidiary, unveiled mKey, Africa’s first keyboard app. At the mKey app’s launch, Jack Ngare, Finserve Africa’s boss, described the new platform as being not just another “smartphone app” but rather, a “smart app for phones” as we captured in the tweet below.

So we can agree that mKey, the app which integrates social, financial and lifestyles features and services, is indeed smart. But even as it comes with all the three capabilities, the next possible question (and point of concern) for you as a user who’s downloaded the app and using is whether it’s secure or exposes you and your data without your authorisation.

While thinking about the security features on mKey, whose other capabilities we’ve captured in previous posts, I came across this article about a peer-to-peer payments app called Cash App which has over 7 million users globally. However, Cash App has been exploited by scammers who utilise its security loopholes to steal funds from users’ accounts.

States the article:

In fact, we recently saw a Facebook post from a woman who claims a hacker took out $2,645 from her Cash App account. That’s a payment app used by 7 million customers.

She says neither Cash App nor her bank would refund the money.

And she’s not the only one who said she was scammed.

You see, since users can only reach Cash App by email, thieves posted fake customer service numbers on Google.

When customers called one of the numbers, a thief would convince them to give over their account info, and there would go their money…

But unlike Cash App, whose customer service team can only be reached via email, the mKey support team can be contacted via a variety of channels, not just email. This can be seen in the image below:

This means that whenever you feel there’s an issue with your mKey account and funds therein, you can reach the support team through the 4 channels and have the issue(s) resolved.

And still on security of your data and account, below are some 10 clarifications regarding the mKey app:

  1. mKey is Africa’s first keyboard app and has been designed using the highest in security standards by the Finserve team
  2. Finserve products are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Level 1 compliant, the highest in global security standards
  3. When setting up your account, mKey sends through a verification code to the number provided to make sure it is you setting up your account.
  4. mKey has a 6 character passcode, greater than the standard 4 character passcode meaning that the keyboard app has an added layer of security
  5. mKey equally provides fingerprint authentication which acts as an option for those who choose side-step the passcode, but also adds a higher level of security to the app
  6. mKey captures keystrokes, similar to other keyboard apps. This is how keyboards “learn” your writing style and therefore make it easier to type, in other words this is how predictive texts work
  7. mKey does not capture keystrokes beyond Language Modeling Data meaning that it does not collect PINS, passwords and similar sensitive data. Additionally, mKey does not store any of this information.
  8. The message that pops up when you are activating your mKey keyboard is one from Android that pops up whenever you choose to install any 3rd party keyboard (e.g. gboard, swiftkey etc.)
  9. Finserve advises users never to share their mKey passcode with anyone
  10. At no time will Finserve reach out to ask for your passcode

With these clarifications around its security features and capabilities, why not download mKey and try it for yourself? We’re sure you won’t be disappointed nor regret the decision, just like us.


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