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Published on August 12th, 2011 | by Arsalan Mir

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[Update] ATM Technology Company Accused – Our Own People Cannot See Us Succeed






On August 5, an article appeared in the daily “The News” that stirred a buzz on social media. This was about accusing a Pakistan’s leading financial solutions company, TPS, of “milking” millions out of bank account holders accounts and bribing board members of Pakistan’s leading inter-bank ATM switch “1Link” to keep their software systems running there.

Let me include some excerpts of the news article that appeared in the paper before we go on and discuss how journalists twists the tales and blackmail people in Pakistan:

Sources in the banking industry disclosed that the ATMs in Pakistan are run by a computer programme provided by TPS, a Pakistani company.

TPS has complete monopoly in this area of business and gives its software under proprietary license terms.

It further says:

TPS is stealing a huge amount of money on a daily basis from bank accountholders. How is this possible? Hundreds of thousands of ATM transactions are made every day. If a virus or special code takes out just one paisa for each transaction, the account holders obviously cannot suspect any wrongdoing. But the company manages to steal a huge amount of money in this way every day from bank accounts.

The article also goes on to accuse the State Bank of Pakistan and 1Link board members:

This “system” has been put in place by 1LINK’s initial founders and board and is still prevalent due to the extraordinary bribes paid by TPS to board members of 1LINK. State Bank officials have also been pat of this scheme, sources said.

TPS charges banks in US dollars, although it delivers services locally. This is in violation of SBP’s regulations which it foists on others, but very conveniently overlooks in this case.

We understand TPS is a Pakistani software company that is providing electronic payment solutions to banks in Pakistan and countries abroad. To be honest, we first came to know of TPS in our interactions at EasyPaisa events, a mobile money service launched by Telenor. It merits mentioning here that TPS also powers online bill payments/fund transfer systems with various banks.

On the other hand Pakistan Media Watch, an online blog that keeps an eye on activities in the media and news articles came up with a report titled “No Evidence to support accusations in ATM Theft article“.

The writer’s comments on report and the lack of evidence in it in the following manner:

Rizvi then says that because the software is proprietary, banks are not allowed to “even touch the machines that this software is installed on”. But he said before that “ATMs in Pakistan are run by a computer programme provided by TPS”. If he is correct, this means that banks are not allowed to touch their own ATMs. These banks must be very surprised to learn this!

The report highlight’s the journalists own contradiction in the following paragraph of his report:

Rizvi returns to contradicting his own reporting. When he earlier wrote that “banks and ATM switches like 1Link are not allowed to check, audit or see the software code or even touch the machines that this software is installed on”, Rizvi later writes that “This “system” has been put in place by 1LINK’s initial founders and board and is still prevalent due to the extraordinary bribes paid by TPS to board members of 1LINK”.

Which is it? Can 1LINK not even touch the machines? Or is 1LINK installing the software themself?

Referring to TPS monopoly and then the presence of other players in the market, Pakistan media watch has also highlighted another contradiction in the same article:

When Jawwad Rizvi earlier wrote that “TPS has complete monopoly in this area of business”, he later writes that “Besides TPS, there are other companies like Euronet and Avanza who are providing similar solutions to banks in Pakistan”.

Which is it? TPS has complete monopoly or there are other companies that provide similar solutions to banks in Pakistan?

While being a very frequent ATM user, I can confidently say nothing is being milked away from my account and this report on the artcile concludes highlighting several inaccuracies and accusations lacking evidence. This, to every common man, shows how journalists and print media in general are exploiting their power and using their platforms to blackmail and milk money for themselves, I cannot foresee any other reason why this report could have been published online.

In the country we live in, we have every ingredient in place to keep us away from technology and stop our progress. It is our own people who cannot see us succeed.

The original article that appeared on The News can be read here.

Pakistan Media Watch response can be read here.

UPDATE

The news has published a corrigendum in today’s print edition (Aug 14,2011) regretting on the factual error reported in their earlier story on the subject:

The News regrets factual errors in its story ‘ATM software company milking bank account holders’ published on Page 15 of its Friday, August 5 edition. The reporter made allegations which could not be substantiated by subsequent investigations. Appropriate action is being taken.

While we regret the errors and apologize for the distress caused, there was no deliberate attempt to malign the company’s reputation. The reporter made several attempts to get the version of the people concerned at TPS. Unfortunately, he was denied access. —Editor

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About the Author

is a Telecom enthusiast with engineering background based in Lahore. On professional front, he is the Director Operations at the Target Group. He can be reached at arsalan (at) telecompk (dot) net



4 Responses to [Update] ATM Technology Company Accused – Our Own People Cannot See Us Succeed

  1. Izhar Cheema says:

    Seems like Rizvi has recently watched this movie ‘office space’.

  2. Bilal Sulehri says:

    The technique of taking aside a tiny sum of amount on each transaction is called Salami technique or Rounding off which is one of the basic ways used by perpetrators to make money by infiltrating a banking system.

    To ensure that any such activity is not being carried out, an Information system audit should be conducted.

    State Bank should take notice and issue stringent guidelines for banks to protect the customer and ensure that customer’s confidence on the system does not shatter.

  3. Pingback: ATM Technology Company Accused – Our Own People Cannot See Us Succeed

  4. Pingback: ATM Technology Company Accused – Our Own People Cannot See Us Succeed | Tea Break

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