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MFS Africa invests in AI intuition tech to beef up security

African digital payments hub MFS Africa has partnered with ThetaRay, a financial and software enterprise and leading provider of AI-powered transaction monitoring technology, to protect its network of services against financial crime.

Through the agreement, ThetaRay will provide MFS Africa its SONAR SaaS solution, including AI-powered AML transaction monitoring and sanctions list screening.

According to ThetaRay this technology will enable MFS Africa to stay a step ahead of complex and emerging financial crime typologies.

MFS Africa said its full-service digital payments network connects over 400 million mobile money wallets, over 200 million bank accounts and over 150,000 agents to enable cross-platform and cross-border payments.

Funmi Dele-Giwa, General Counsel and Head of Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) at MFS Africa, said, “Moving from a rules-based solution to a sophisticated AI platform is a game-changer for compliance, thanks to its new breed of intelligence that drastically reduces false positives and enables us to detect unknown cases. We take our role in safeguarding the integrity of payments systems very seriously, and this partnership with ThetaRay exemplifies our approach to a strong governance and control environment.”

Mark Gazit, CEO of ThetaRay, added: “MFS Africa is leading the Fintech revolution in Africa by enabling digital payments that are accessible to connect all people to the financial world. ThetaRay is thrilled to partner with a forward-thinking company whose strategy is to provide new technology that helps open the financial ecosystem and promote financial and economic inclusion. ThetaRay’s advanced AI enables the trust needed by new financial players to be accepted into the system, helping grow business and revenues.”

The companies said that SONAR is based on an advanced form of AI called “artificial intelligence intuition” that makes better decisions with no bias or thresholds, “offering customers a risk-based approach to effectively identify truly suspicious cases and create a full picture of customer identities including across complex, cross-border transaction paths.”

This enables the rapid discovery of both known and unknown money laundering threats, with a peerless 95% detection rate and up to 99% reduction in false positives compared to rules-based solutions, MFS Africa and ThretaRay added.

Patrick Gutmann, Managing Director of MFS Africa, said, “As MFS Africa continues to expand its business across Africa and focuses on enabling new use-cases, ThetaRay’s advanced platform assures the company an efficient and effective solution that can support our increasing payment volumes, while reducing exposure to risk from financial crimes.”

MFS Africa has made significant acquisitions in the past year, acquiring Baxi, a leading super-agency network in Nigeria, and the US-based Fintech GTP, a top processor of prepaid cards across the African continent.

In June ITWeb Africa reported that MFS Africa had secured an additional US$100-million in equity and debt funding to increase the total amount secured to US$200-million, to accelerate its global expansion plans across Africa and in Asia – including enabling cross-border digital payments between Africa and China.

During the same month, the company finalised the acquisition of GTP and access to vast international markets, including e-commerce and business travel.

Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, GTP claims that over 80 banks - including UBA, Ecobank, BIA, Stanbic, Coris, NSIA and Zenith Bank – use its platform.

“GTP’s client base covers 34 countries and is fully connected to the Visa, Mastercard, GIM, GIMAC and Verve networks for which it provides the processing,” reads part of a statement released to the media.

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