Tag: FNB

Source: IOL

FNB has announced that contactless payments have surpassed chip and PIN contact payments for the first time.

The bank attributes the shift from chip contact to contactless to consumers’ preferences and awareness of convenient and quicker means to pay at a point-of-sale.

“This is a remarkable milestone for the financial services industry, and it augurs well for efforts to improve safety and convenience in the payments network,” said FNB payments executive Raj Makanjee. “We are delighted to see our customers pioneering what we believe to be the future of payments globally. It goes without saying that the pandemic has definitely accelerated the growth in contactless payments as consumers and retailers continue to prioritise safety, convenience and efficiency.”

In March and April this year, customers processed over 30 million contactless payments, worth over R10 billion in each month, according to Chris Labuschagne, chief executive of FNB Card.

“Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen year on year growth which ranged from 200 percent on regular months and over 400 percent during peak periods,” said Labuschagne. “We firmly believe that new solutions like our virtual card on our digital platform will significantly accelerate this trend, supported by a willing customer base which continues to lead the market on the use of efficient financial services tools.”

According to FNB, the scope for growth in contactless payments remains vast and the bank is of the view that chip contact and contactless payments will continue to compete over the medium term.

However, as more retailers roll-out contactless point-of-sale devices for greater efficiency, FNB sees better growth prospects in consumer usage and adoption.

“We remain committed to providing a wide range of unique and innovative payment solutions that are centred around true customer and business value,” Labuschagne concluded.

 

According to a recent Business Tech article, businesses are often unaware that by giving a third-party or software programmes access to their financial information, they are potentially being exposed to the risk of screen scraping. This is a data gathering technique that tricks users into providing internet banking login details to a third-party website.

  • The third-party logs onto to your Internet banking using your details. This exposes you to potential risks of fraud, financial crime and data privacy risks
  • There are risks associated with instant online EFT (electronic fund transaction) payments
  • There are risks for businesses that sign over authority to a third party to access their banking and client information
  • The most common screen scraping from a business perspective would be when businesses use software that are authorised to access banking transactions.
  • This may also leave your business vulnerable to third parties accessing your company data and even that of your clients.
  • Companies that use screen scraping to facilitate transactions on your behalf may have no intention of compromising your account or committing fraud, but the risk remains.

FNB: how to protect your company data

  • Be vigilant when it comes to reading through any terms and conditions on any software or website before you click “accept”.
  • Make use of an application security testing tool before you sign any agreements authorising access to your company data.
  • Cloud-based software is not without its own risks. Insist on having both testing and sandbox environments, providing analysis for security gaps.
  • Find out from your third-party software vendors if they use open-source tools in their product. How they deal with open source can be a high risk if not done properly.
  • Do not share login credentials with any third parties and never enter these into any third party websites other than their own bank’s legitimate platforms.

FNB blocks customer credit cards without warning

Source: MyBroadband

Numerous FNB customers are complaining that their credit cards have been blocked on Sunday without prior warning.

Reports of the issue were widespread on Twitter and FNB’s Downdetector page, which saw a big spike in complaints from around 13:00.

Customers reported that attempting to transact with their credit card would result in the payment being declined and the following text message being sent to them:

Outstanding documents are required to comply with FICA. Please call the number on the back of your card.

Multiple Twitter users claimed this notification appeared to be coming out of the blue, as they had not been asked to provide FICA documents before Sunday.

“Went shopping only to find out my CC [credit card] transactions are being declined pending FICA documents! What FICA documents? I was never asked for FICA documents! Absolutely ridiculous,” one Twitter user said.

“Credit card transactions declined. The card was working fine yesterday,” another customer stated.

“Both myself and my wife’s cards declining apparently due to outstanding FICA documents. No communication from FNB. We have no access to our money. Can’t pay for fuel or food,” a third user stated.

The problem appeared to be impacting both in-person and online transactions.

One MyBroadband reader was also experiencing the issue, with his credit card account showing R0 available despite not having reached its limit.

According to Downdetector’s outage map, the majority of reports were coming from Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth.

On Monday, FNB confirmed to MyBroadband that the issue has been resolved.

“The bank sincerely apologises to impacted customers for the inconvenience caused,” Labuschagne said.

It did not elaborate further as to what caused the glitch.

 

Source: Business Insider SA

Online business registrations are surging in South Africa, FNB says.

The dire financial consequences for many during South Africa’s lockdown have forced business owners to change their strategies and business plans in order to survive, it believes.

Many have used the lockdown period to either open their own personal services, or to formalise existing business for relief funding and operating permits.

Online business registrations are surging in South Africa, says First National Bank, as South Africans change course to adapt to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on traditional businesses.

The country’s strict lockdown meant that mining and manufacturing ground to a halt for weeks. The impact on the hospitality sector was also devastating, resulting in job losses for many South Africans and a sharp economic decline.

The dire financial consequences for many have forced business owners to change their strategies and business plans in order to survive, with many using the lockdown period to either open their own personal services, or to formalise existing business for relief funding and operating permits, the bank believes.

FNB data shows an increase in the number of businesses using a government initiative where entrepreneurs use the BizPortal.gov.za website to register their new businesses at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

Gauteng led with 44% of applications followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 13%, Mpumalanga at 10%, and the Western Cape at 9%.

“We are seeing a strong uptake through this portal as well as an increase in applications through our normal CIPC interactions, where clients can register a company on FNB’s website. This indicates that more and more entrepreneurs want to formalise their businesses in order take advantage of new opportunities presented as a result of Covid and further benefit from financial support provided by both private and public sector,” says Lauren Deva, head of sales for transactional products at FNB Business.

“When the BizPortal started, we initially had an average of 700 registrations a month. However, this significantly increased to 14,000 registrations during the lockdown period, between April and end of August. On average 2,800 businesses were registered per month via the portal,” says Deva.

 

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.

R450m worth of eBucks spent during lockdown

Source: IOL

While many people are still coming to terms with the financial difficulties caused by Covid-19 and the national lockdown, FNB customers have turned to eBucks rewards to help them extend and better manage their finances.

Johan Moolman, eBucks Rewards Chief Executive said, “We’ve seen how eBucks members are using their rewards to buy essentials. Since the start of the national lockdown towards the end of March, members have spent over R451 million worth of eBucks on things like fuel, groceries, airtime and data and other day-to-day necessities, helping them stretch their monthly budgets even further”.

He said that the tools they have provided members are helping them save and grow their money every day.

“We want to help our members to earn eBucks so they can use them to supplement their household income, especially during these times of uncertainty. This is why we’ve introduced tools on the FNB App such as ‘Track my rewards’ and ‘Earn more eBucks’, which allow members to track their current banking behaviour daily and easily perform the necessary banking behaviours to move up a reward level and earn more eBucks in the upcoming month,” said Moolman.

He points out that the value of a good rewards programme goes far beyond just the day-to-day rewards that members enjoy. A valuable rewards programme should also be designed to enable members to practice good money management and encourage them to grow their savings to protect their future.

eBucks Rewards members earn reward level points for having an FNB savings or investment account, maintaining a healthy credit status with nav» Money on the FNB App, and for using Cash@Till withdrawals.

It’s important to encourage members to bank responsibly and manage their finances well.

“At FNB, our philosophy has always been to find ways to help our customers. Through our eBucks Rewards programme, we are delivering on that promise,” concluded Moolman.

FNB suffers massive technical glitch

FNB announced on Monday via its Twitter page that some of the functionality on its digital platforms was unavailable.

“We are aware that some of our functionality is temporarily unavailable. Our IT teams are working to restore the affected functionality,” said the bank in its tweet.

According to users, when they tried to the access the app they would receive a message that said that the system was unavailable and the users should try again later.

The bank apologised to its customers for the inconvenience.

By Tuesday, it had fixed its Foreign Exchange services, and on Wednesday announced that lotto and electricity services were back online.
As of Wednesday, airtime and data services were still not working.

According to a recent article by MyBroadband, a large number of South Africans have asked their banks for payment holidays and cash flow relief during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Absa has seen almost 570 000 account holders benefit from relief
  • This amounts to R7.8-billion cash flow relief
  • Nedbank has assisted more than 225 000 clients, out of a total credit active client base of approximately 2.5-million
  • Standard Bank granted instalment relief to nearly 150 000 clients in the wake of the national lockdown
  • This amounts to over R1-billion in instalment relief per month
  • FNB said it has offered almost R6 billion in relief to customers since 1 April 2020
  • Nearly 700 000 account holders benefited from relief
  • A total of 1.64-million South Africans have received payment holidays

FNB is hit by a big increase in bad debts

The country’s largest banking group by market capitalisation says it has experienced “a material slowdown” in its South African operations since the beginning of 2020.

FirstRand released its interim financial results showing that its businesses collectively grew normalised earnings by 5% in the six months to December:

  • FNB South Africa grew its earnings by 5%
  • More customers deposited more money
  • FNB experience a R910-million increase in the bank’s credit impairment charge
  • FNB card impairments increased by 77% to R270 million as advances grew by 21%
  • Non-performing loans (NPLs) in card business increased by a 84%
  • FNB’s personal loans business also recorded a 47% increase in impairment charges to R300-million
  • The residential mortgage book saw its credit loss ratio increase to 22 basis points as NPLs increased by of 12%
  • FNB commercial NPLs increased by 47%

“Looking forward to the second half of the year, the group is of the view that the South African macroeconomic environment will continue to deteriorate, probably at a faster rate than in the first half,” FirstRand said.

The group said as the coronavirus outbreak is expected to result in supply chain disruptions, while the weak economy will leave consumers will less disposable income and job losses, companies will be under pressure.

“FirstRand has already experienced a material slowdown in its domestic business since the beginning of 2020. Given the expected pressures on top line the group appreciates the need for ongoing cost efficiencies, balanced with continued investment in sustainable growth strategies,” read FirstRand’s statement.

By James Preston for SA Crypto

SA Crypto’s chat channels were abuzz last night as MyBroadBand released an article reporting on a big decision by FNB: The bank announced that they will be shutting down all bank accounts related to cryptocurrency businesses. This includes large exchanges such as Luno, VALR, AltCoinTrader, iCE3X among others. The closures will be effective from end of March 2020.

The news stirred numerous conversation on the groups as users were stunned at the shortsighted move by what is seen as a progressive bank. First it was on Telegram where a user shared the article, were immediately the response was a negative one.

30 minutes later, SA Crypto’s primary Whatsapp group began fluttering with chatter around the subject.

The conversation continued for some time, with very little positive outlook. The reasonable users among the group objectively hoped that such a move by FNB would be an isolated one, a perspective reaffirmed by VALR CEO, Farzam Ehsani.

Ehsani weighed in on the conversation on both Telegram and WhatsApp, eventually stating that he would do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on his Twitter profile to discuss his viewpoint as the CEO of a major cryptocurrency in South Africa. Especially considering his previous role as “Head of Blockchain” at Rand Merchant Bank, a sister division to FNB.

After some interesting perspective from SA Crypto users, including a Bitcoin “Over The Counter” broker, Ehsani announced his AMA.

In addition to his AMA, Ehsani shared a public statement to all VALR users assuring them of their continued positive relationship with other banks in South Africa, and such a move by FNB wouldn’t adversely affect operations.

Meanwhile, Luno have released an official statement on their website, along with FAQs around how the move by FNB could impact existing Luno customers. The statement confirms that Luno is affected by FNB’s decision, as they anticipate their FNB business bank account being closed in the second quarter of 2020.

SA Crypto was alerted to this news on a recent visit to the AltCoinTrader offices, where one of the executives revealed they had just come back from a meeting with their relationship manager at FNB. The manager disclosed to AltCoinTrader that FNB was planning the closure, stating that FNB’s executive committee were considering its risk appetite, and deemed “virtual currencies” as too unclear from a regulatory perspective and thus were going to announce the discontinuation of banking support.

At the time, SA Crypto was unable to confirm the news, with it now being officially made clear in a letter from FNB.

Both iCE3X and Luno have responded to the FNB announcement, stating that, like VALR, they have good relationships with a number of other primary banks in the country, and deposits and withdrawals will be able to continue as normal, with FNB bank details requiring a change. Eugéne Etsebeth, COO at iCE3X, confirmed on Twitter this morning that clients would be unaffected by FNB’s announcement.

The move does raise some concerns for cryptocurrency users in South Africa, as it opens the door for other banks to question their relationships with cryptoasset companies. It would be extremely surprising however to see these banks follow suit, as the revenue generated from banking fees with these companies must be considerable, although the fact that FNB are willing to sacrifice such revenue is worrying to say the least.

FNB have stated they are open to reversing this decision should South African regulators provide further clarity on virtual currencies.

The news comes in conjunction with equally stunning news from RMB Holdings, who announced last night that they will be selling off R130 billion worth of First Rand shares in a major portfolio restructuring move. The figure is the total sum of the full 34% stake RMBH has in First Rand Limited, the company that operates FNB.

In reaction to the announcement, former FNB CEO Michael Jordan took to Twitter to share his surprise.

The RMB Holdings statement did not give a reason for the unbundling of the First Rand shares, but said there would be a detailed explanation before the end of the first quarter 2020.

It is strangely coincidental that the announcement comes on the same day First Rand-owned FNB announce their distancing from cryptoasset companies. And while it would be irresponsible to jump to conclusions, the gravity of both of these announcements makes it difficult not to.

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