Johannesburg - FNB on Tuesday announced that it has successfully tested and rolled out a biometric identification and verification system which allows for online verification of customers through their fingerprints in its branches.
FNB is the first bank in South Africa to have the system fully implemented in more than 100 branches nationwide.
The system uses real time fingerprint verification linked to the Home Affairs National Identification System (Hanis) and is currently live in 160 branches. More than 130 of these are FNB EasyPlan branches, the bank's low-cost banking model.
"We continue to use innovative measures to make banking safe and convenient for our customers - in this instance, by reducing identity fraud," says Line Wiid, CEO of FNB Smart Solutions.
"With the rise in identity theft it is crucial that we adopt measures that not only protect us as a bank but also protect our customers. Biometrics verification is one way to build trust with our customers."
FNB has been piloting biometric verification in its EasyPlan branch environment since July 2011. "The beauty of the system is that we are not just validating fingerprints against our own database but against the national database held by the department of home affairs. This helps us to ensure data integrity," said Wiid.
FNB is using the biometric verification system for customers who wish to take out finance or open a new account with the bank.
"It is important to note that the system is not used as a credit scoring tool for our customers, but to verify that the person applying for a loan is in fact who they claim to be," she said.
"Combating identity fraud is everyone's responsibility. Businesses and corporate need to play a role and support government's initiatives in fighting crime."
FNB has already installed the biometric verification system in all its 137 EasyPlan branches. In future, all upcoming EasyPlan branches will automatically have the biometric capability.