Yesterday, users of ride-hailing service, Bolt (formerly Taxify), in Nigeria, began complaining about receiving debit alerts on their bank accounts for unauthorised Bolt rides.
Man this doesnt even make any sense like why am I getting debit alerts for trips I didnt take on bolt ? pic.twitter.com/D9p2afQop2
— OSI. (@Osi_Suave) September 25, 2019
— Debo Olutayo (@debaino1207) September 25, 2019
For many users, this could only mean one thing; Bolt had been hacked.
However, the company quickly tried to dispel all claims that their systems had been hacked.
According to the statements it released through its official social media handles, “Bolt (Taxify) has not been hacked. Also, we do not store credit card data. Our payments provider is possibly experiencing issues which we are trying to clarify.”
Bolt (Taxify) has not been hacked. Also, we do not store credit card data. Our payments provider is possibly experiencing issues which we are trying to clarify. pic.twitter.com/MGwKPiwUGs
— Bolt Nigeria (@Boltapp_ng) September 25, 2019
Nevertheless, this didn’t do much to put the minds of customers at ease. Instead, many of them claimed they had already taken their cards off the Bolt app.
Why were Bolt users’ accounts debited?
Since Bolt Nigeria has publicly refuted claims that its systems were hacked, Techpoint reached out to the company to make sense of the situation.
In response to our enquiries, Bolt reaffirms that its systems have not been hacked, nor has customer payment information been compromised.
“Bolt’s payment processor in Nigeria has confirmed that the problem was on the local acquirer bank’s side and is not a case of multiple debits,” Uche Okafor, Bolt’s Regional Manager, West Africa said in an email.
“The debit alerts that customers received were valid but were in fact delayed transactions for Bolt rides done during the weekend of 13th and 14th September. The transactions were debited to cardholders only yesterday due to a delay in processing. Mostly Mastercard holders were impacted.”
However, according to a rider who claimed to have been affected, the last time he took a ride was on Tuesday, September 26.
“I took two rides actually, one cost ₦500 (~$1.38) while the other cost ₦1,500 (~$4.13) and I was charged for both. Yesterday morning, I got debit alerts of ₦500 and ₦1,500 for the Bolt rides I took the previous day. I woke up this morning to see that my money had been refunded. I noticed this when I made another transaction on my account.”
Another Bolt rider claimed that he got debited ₦4,700 (~$12.96) for a ride he didn’t take.
The company says it is working with its payment processors and local acquirer bank to ensure that these issues are resolved as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, a couple of Bolt drivers say that they have not been getting ride requests on the app. It appears that riders’ trust in the company took a major hit. It will be interesting to see how it goes about rebuilding their trust.