Pay with your phone using fingerprint ID

As financial fraud continues to be a threat, South African banks are responding by moving forward to an era where your plastic bank card will no longer need to be used directly. Instead you will become more reliant on your mobile phone as a means of payment and the use of your fingerprint as a secure identification tool.

First National Bank (FNB) recently released the newest version of its app, called the FNB Banking App 5.0. The FNB App 5.0 features solutions such as FNB pay, fingerprint ID, secure chat, Smart inContact, 1-touch report fraud, as well as the FNB watch app.

Jacques Celliers, chief executive of FNB says the bank views the app as a gateway into the future of banking. “The intuitive new features of App 5.0 are a clear demonstration of how we are prioritising customer needs.  This platform also puts us in a much better position to continue capitalising on the seamless convergence of banking and telecoms, to produce integrated solutions,” he says.

What you can expect from the new FNB app:

  • Contactless payments: one of the key features of the new app, FNB Pay is a globally accepted contactless payment solution which allows you to make purchases by tapping your smartphone on a contactless enabled point of sale terminal. Note that if you are making purchases below R200, your bank card pin will not be required. Raj Makanjee, chief executive of FNB Premium explains that FNB customers with an NFC enabled Android device can download the latest version of the FNB App and start making purchases at any contactless payment terminal. Once you download the app, you automatically gets FNB Pay and can link it to any of their FNB cards.” Makanjee says local merchants are gradually increasing the infrastructure for contactless transactions, making for opportune timing for the release of the new version of the FNB app. “This is one of the reasons why 100% of the new or replacement cards we are now issuing are contactless cards across our debit and credit portfolios,” he says. There are currently more than 1.5 million FNB contactless cards currently in use.
  • Increased security features: FNB was the first bank to launch text notifications of bank transactions in 2002 and has now ramped up the service with Smart InContact, which notifies you of transactions as low as one cent, with full control to report fraud with 1-touch of the Smart inContact notification to the 24/7 FNB fraud line. Smart inContact also replaces SMS one-time pins (OTPs) as a secure way to approve, reject or report fraud for any online banking transactions. Logins from unknown or suspicious devices also trigger a Smart inContact notification for you to verify or reject the device. If you don’t download the FNB App 5.0, you will continue to receive SMS notifications and OTPs until they download or update to the latest version of the app.
  • Biometric security: You can now authenticate yourself through the use of biometrics or fingerprint identification, which is available to both Android and iPhone owners, which uses a fingerprint sensor to verify the user before giving access to the account profile.
  • Direct chat: FNB clients who qualify for premier and private banking services will also be able to use the secure chat feature on the new app to enquire about services or send instructions to their private banking support team, all done through the app after securely logging in.  This particular feature has already been piloted by FNB with more than 800 000 chats generated with private bankers over the course of the last month alone. However, Cilliers notes that this feature is seen more as an advice/service platform rather than a transactional platform.
  • Smartwatch functionality: You can take the convenience of the app one step further by downloading key features onto your Android or Apple smartwatch. To promote the use of smartwatches, FNB has ramped up the discounts available to eBucks customers, making available discounts when purchasing a smartwatch via the eBucks online shop.
  • This article was first published in City Press on 16 October 2016.

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