FNB expands its payments ecosystem with virtual card

By Sibahle Malinga for ITWeb

First National Bank (FNB) has become the latest financial institution to introduce a virtual bank card for individual and business customers.

Launched this morning, as part of its strategy to expand the big-four bank’s digital payments ecosystem, the FNB virtual card will be made available to individual customers across debit, fusion and credit cards, and for business customers on debit cards from October.

The completely digital bank card, which has a separate card number from the physical card, is accessible through the FNB app and the RMB Private Banking app and on wearable devices for contactless payments, where it can be created and topped up with cash on an ongoing basis.

It can be used on any e-commerce site, including international platforms, and at brick-and-mortar merchants.

Standard Bank and digital solutions credit provider FASTA are among the local companies that have also introduced virtual cards to enable contactless payments at retailers.

Demand for online and contactless payments has surged in recent months, with many people opting out of making cash payments or using touch point-of-sale machines, amid fears of the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking at the launch during a webinar this morning, Raj Makanjee, FNB payments executive, said the introduction of the FNB virtual card is part of the bank’s journey to avail convenient and safer solutions via a secure platform, as part of its platform-based strategy.

“We have made significant strides in enabling our customers to use digital payments, even when they shop at a physical point-of-sale. We believe that digital payments are a more convenient, secure and cost-effective solution for both the consumer and the merchant.

“FNB and RMB Private Bank customers are able to create and link their virtual cards to the transactional accounts they have with us. Customers have the flexibility to create multiple virtual cards for each transactional account to better manage spend. They can also use the virtual card to pay digitally via scan to pay, tap to pay or during check-out for online purchases,” said Makanjee.

The FNB virtual card means customers no longer need to rely on a physical card at merchants that have tap to pay functionality, as they can either use an Android smart device or an Apple device where the merchant accepts QR code payments.

The virtual card can be uploaded and used on various online subscription platforms, such as iTunes, Google Play Store, Netflix and Spotify. Additionally, spending via the virtual card will provide customers with eBucks rewards, notes FNB.

Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB Credit Card, pointed out that the bank’s encryption and security features prompt customers to authenticate the transaction on the mobile app, as opposed to receiving an OTP SMS, to reduce reliance on OTPs, which make customers vulnerable to fraud.

“Consumers and businesses are adopting convenient ways to shop and pay; therefore, security becomes a critical factor. One of the key security features on our virtual card is a dynamic card verification value (CVV) security number that changes every hour to help customers minimise the risk of fraud when shopping online. The virtual card will be safely stored on the app and customers will have the ability to temporarily block, cancel or replace the card via our app.”

The expiry date is also longer than a physical card, which allows the customer to keep using the card without being worried about an expiry period, noted Labuschagne.

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