Financial services firm First National Bank (FNB) will roll out 50 self-service kiosks that use fingerprint biometrics to verify a user’s identity in South African townships over the next six months, FNB Points of Presence CEO Lee-Anne van Zyl said on Monday.
The “TouchPoint” is a self-service kiosk that clients can use to conduct transactional banking such as transfers and payments, view statements, buy airtime and electricity and perform card cancellations.
The device also allows for new accounts to be opened by reading a consumer’s thumb print.
Even though the device does not contain cash, users can also use the device for withdrawals in the form of retail credit vouchers.
“The TouchPoint validates a customer’s identity by scanning a fingerprint placed on the biometric reader and it can detect false fingerprints to prevent fraud. The identity of the customer is then verified with the Department of Home Affairs to ensure the self-service account opening complies with the relevant laws,” Van Zyl explained.
FNB aims to extend banking services to unbanked and underbanked communities through the roll-out of self-service digital platforms, such as mini-automatic teller machines and automated deposit tellers.
“The TouchPoint device has been successfully piloted in Gauteng since November 2017. The aim is to place the devices in branches, community retailers in townships and rural areas across South Africa,” said Van Zyl.
Specifically, the introduction of biometric validation on self-service devices is an important step to making banking much more accessible to South African communities.
“As the use of biometric technology becomes more pervasive in the everyday life of customers, it is important to use this technology to accelerate access to banking services to broaden financial inclusion. We believe digital platforms play an important role in that regard,” emphasised Van Zyl.
Further, this innovation allows the bank to advance its partnerships with small businesses in local communities to enable affordable banking for customers at community retailers. This partnership will also contribute to efforts to fully integrate small businesses into the banking ecosystem, she added.
“Local retailers are often the backbone for many communities. We believe that our partnership will drive foot-traffic to these small businesses and help them to provide increased value to customers,” concluded Van Zyl.