Tag: FNB

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.

FNB backtracks on password decision

FNB recently announced a new online banking policy which prevented users from saving their passwords to their browsers.

However, the bank received a backlash from techsavvy users, who pointed out that using software to bypass this feature would create more vulnerability.

FNB head of digital banking Giuseppe Virgillito told MyBroadband that the bank had taken note of social media feedback.

“FNB recognises the valuable feedback from our customers regarding the measures to prevent auto-filling of banking passwords,” Virgillito said.

“We have found that a number of our customers save their banking passwords to their browsers. This places customers with stolen or unattended devices at considerable risk.

“As a consequence, we strongly discourage customers from storing their banking passwords in their browsers.

“The use of this type of software for your banking is strongly discouraged as it places the user at a high risk of introducing malicious software onto their device.

“Alternatively, it also places users at an increased risk of phishing. As a consequence, hereof, we have decided to revisit the decision to prevent auto-filling of passwords at this time,” Virgillito said.

FNB users should now be able to log in to their online banking as normal, using password managers or auto-fill passwords.

First National Bank (FNB) has announced that users will no longer be able to save their online banking passwords in their browsers.

Going forward, whenever a user wants to log into their account they will have to do so manually.

This forces users to keep their banking passwords secure.

“All stored passwords on your device can be viewed during a malware attack. Passwords can be easily accessed on your unattended/unlocked/stolen device,” FNB stated in a MyBroadband article.

FNB advises that users do the following to keep their passwords safe:

  • Do not share login details with anyone
  • Always use a different password for different websites. Avoid using the same one over and over
  • Report any fraudulent activity immediately to the FNB Fraud Centre: 087 575 9444
  • This change may interfere with various third-party password lockers such as LastPass

FNB accidentally gives clients free money

On Tuesday it emerged that FNB accidentally gave a number of its clients free money. The extra funds ranged from a few hundred rand to over R3 000.

FNB said that this was due to an error which is being rectified. Recipients of the extra funds will be required to pay it back, as unjustifiable enrichment can be reversed, an attorney told Business Insider South Africa.

The error appears to be due to delayed debit card transactions. FNB says that they have been in contact with clients who received the extra funds.

Retrieving the additional funds will not necessarily be an easy task, as the bank may find it difficult to extract the money from clients who have already spent it.

FNB has not revealed how much extra money was accidentally given away in total, nor how many people in total received money.

By Wendy Knowler for Times Live

Do courier company drivers have the necessary training and experience to verify proof of identity and address before handing over a credit card, complete with its PIN number?

If First National Bank (FNB) client Ivan Kistnasami’s experience is anything to go by, definitely not.

He recently discovered that a fraudster had applied for a Discovery card in his name, and had it delivered to an address in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, in November.

“With his new credit card and pin – and a massive credit limit of R102,000 – the fraudster had access to my cheque and credit card accounts, and within two days he had transferred all funds that were available, up to my credit limits, creating debt to the tune of R157,000,” the Pietermaritzburg resident said.

When he approached TimesLIVE for help shortly before the festive season corporate shut-down, his credit profile was in tatters and FNB had failed to honour his monthly debit orders.

“I believe that FNB was negligent in that they have delivered this credit card with the pin through a courier driver who clearly had no experience in verifying the documentation,” Kistnasami said.

The proof of address, a Woolworths account, bears an address which doesn’t quite match the font of the name; a clear sign of fraudulent tampering.

And the ID in Kistnsami’s name bore the photo of a black man, another obvious identity mismatch.

“FNB has my picture on their system, yet the courier driver accepted an ID document with a photo of someone very different.”

The courier company employee stamped the copy of the ID and the Woolworths account, and put his signature to the statement that he’d seen the originals and confirmed the copies to be true.

Kistnasami said when he approached FNB about the couriering of credit cards to its clients, “I was told that the bank does not allow clients to collect from the branch as they are trying to reduce the number of clients transacting at branches”.

In fact, since July 2018 FNB has not stopped allowing its clients from collecting their cards at a bank branch, but strongly discouraged that by charging them R200 if they choose to do so, while offering a free courier service.

“The reduction of card deliveries to branches is in accordance with the bank’s business and digital migration strategy, which continues to benefit customers from a convenience and cost-saving perspective,” the bank told TimesLIVE.

By December, thanks to the bank’s “convenient” delivery of Kistnasami’s card and PIN to the fraudster, he was deep in debt, his medical cover had been suspended due to non-payment, his insurance policy premiums had not been paid and his car insurance was a month in arrears.

TimeLIVE asked FNB whether fraudsters had abused the bank’s card courier policy to acquire credit cards in the name of other clients and whether it intended to implement new security measures to counter this form of fraud.

Does the bank feel it is appropriate for courier staff to have to determine whether or not an alleged card holder’s proof of identity/address are authentic or not?

Responding, FNB said very little, other than Kistnasami was the victim of identity theft and had been refunded.

“Our investigation into the circumstances of the fraud is still pending and we will communicate with the customer until the matter has been amicably finalised.

“Due to the ongoing investigation, we cannot disclose any further information on the matter.”

Kistnasami told TimesLIVE that he has repeatedly been told by FNB that the investigation was still “ongoing”.

“Yes, I was reimbursed, but the accounts are on hold. When I try to settle or balance the accounts so that I can close them, the system says ‘on hold’.

“All I want is to put this nightmare behind me and move on with my life,” he said.

“I do not want the bank to come back to me a year or more later and say I owe them a large sum of money.”

Asked to comment, Discovery said that as Discovery Card was “still operating through a joint venture with FNB” it would leave FNB to comment on the matter.

When Discovery Bank launches later this year, the spokesman said, “it will have incredibly strong security controls”, which would be explained at the time.

FNB is the only bank which charges its clients a fee for wanting to collect their cards from a branch of the bank.

Its competitors do the reverse, charging clients a fee of between R150 and R175 to have their cards delivered to their chosen address by courier.

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