When it comes to banking, nothing is ever really secure but South African banks are investing in the latest biometric technology to try and combat this. Biometric technology uses fingerprints, iris scans, retinal scans, face scans, and other personal information that is more difficult to forge in order to gain access to your banking.
A few weeks ago, First National Bank announced that it was the first bank in South Africa to introduce a mini-ATM that uses biometrics as a means of validation for consumers. The bank introduced their new product know as Touchpoint, which is a mini-ATM that allows customers to login into their account by fingerprint. The device acts as a self-service kiosk where customers can conduct transactional banking such as withdrawals, transfers and payments, view statements, purchase airtime and electricity and perform card cancellations.
FNB’s CEO of FNB Points of Presence said in a statement that the technology had been successfully piloted in Gauteng since November 2017 and that a total of 50 TouchPoint devices will be introduced in select townships during the next six months.
Rival retail bank Capitec immediately disputed FNB’s claim saying that they were in fact the first ones to introduce this type of biometric validation technology back in 2012. Their communications officer Charl Nel told media that this technology has always been a core part of the bank’s business model and currently Capitec is the only bank in South Africa which has biometrics recorded for its complete client base of over 10 million people.
Regardless of the dispute around which bank was first to introduce the technology, biometric validation is here and banks claim that this system will help make banking more secure.
While the idea of drawing cash using your thumbprint seems like a safer option, some experts have warned that there is cheap technology that can be bought by fraudsters to help them steal biometric information from ATMs. This would work similarly to those spy films where criminals lift a fingerprint and create a copy of it. For now though, SA banks have assured customers that they have adopted a rigorous approach in testing these systems and making them secure.