FNB customer not happy with app alternative

First National Bank (FNB) are employing bully boy tactics to force customers to join the ranks of people using the internet to do their banking. That’s the opinion of Di Leighton-Morris from Simon’s Town.

“I have been informed that from July 1, I shall be charged 40c for each inContact SMS unless I register for internet banking. I, like many others, am not comfortable with conducting my banking over the internet and refuse to be bullied into submission by FNB to whom I pay bank charges every month,” she said.

“FNB seems to forget that their customers are the ones who pay their salaries and that their clients should be permitted to carry out their banking business in whichever way they see fit. The FNB slogan: How Can We Help You? rings very hollow indeed.”

Ryan Prozesky, CEO of FNB Value Banking Solutions, said it is incorrect that FNB are forcing people to use the internet for banking.

“The introduction of the inContact SMS notification service is not dependent on customers using internet banking. Our entry level Easy PAYU (Pay As You Use) account will have additional fees for inContact (our transaction notification service) via SMS at 40c each.

“However, customers can still receive free inContact notifications via the FNB Banking App, which has been zero rated across all major networks, so customers will not incur data or airtime charges when using it. Customers who download and register for the FNB Banking App, will continue to receive inContact notifications via the FNB Banking App at no cost. In addition, they will receive notifications for transactions from as little as one cent, as opposed to the current SMS inContact notifications which are only sent for transactions over R100,” Mr Prozesky said.

“Our full range of channels (branch, ATM, cellphone banking, online banking, App, telephone banking) are still available to our customers for their day-to-day banking. That being said, we encourage banking via electronic channels as these provide lower transactional fees and increase convenience by being able to bank anywhere and at any time, not to mention the savings on transport costs to get to your nearest branch,” Mr Prozesky explained.

If people want to stand in queues to do their banking why shouldn’t they? Don’t they have a choice?, I asked Mr Prozesky.

“Our customers do have a choice. Since December last year, we had 645 branches, 2 976 full ATMs, 1 921 ATMs with deposit functionality and 1 112 Slimline ATMs across the country. Customers on Easy PAYU still enjoy free card swipes, free linked account transfers and scheduled transfers, internal debit orders, free subscription to FNB’s electronic channels, free statements and balance enquiries via FNB Cellphone banking, free FNB Connect pre-paid purchases, as well as Shoprite and Checkers coupons on our Banking App. Customers with modest transaction requirements will continue to find that FNB’s PAYU at R5.25 a month offers a cost efficient way to bank and gain access to our banking infrastructure,” said Mr Prozesky, who elaborated on the many banking options FNB offer.

But you can get those details from your nearest branch or on their website.

“Many of our customers understand their cash needs as opposed to requiring a fixed number of ATM transactions per month. Moreover, money is safer in their bank accounts and can be accessed at their convenience, instead of the risk of withdrawing and carrying larger amounts once a week,” Mr Prozesky pointed out.

With fraud being a global concern for customers that use digital platforms, the latest version of the FNB Banking App boasts industry-leading security features, according to Mr Prozesky.

“The industry first inContact solution has evolved to introduce Smart inContact, which allows customers to receive secure online banking transaction approvals on the FNB App which does not rely on SMS or email technology which could be intercepted by fraudsters. Logins to online banking also trigger a Smart inContact notification for customers to be notified whenever their online banking is accessed. App users can also now authenticate themselves through Fingerprint ID available to both Android and iPhone owners, which uses a fingerprint sensor to verify the user before giving access to the account profile,” Mr Prozesky said, adding that 40% more customers (segment earning less than
R300 000 a year) are making regular use of the banking app compared to the same period last year.

“Currently less than 1% of total transactions take place in the branch network, with the majority being performed via ATMs, digital channels, card purchases and debit orders,” he said

So what did Ms Leighton-Morris think about FNB’s explanation?

“As far as I understand it, their reply just reiterates that one will be charged 40c for each inContact notification unless you register for internet banking and it is this very principle to which I am objecting. I really find their bully boy tactics unacceptable.”

Sadly, with banking today, you have Hobson’s Choice. Which means take it or leave it. Thomas Hobson (1544-1631), a stable owner in Cambridge, England, offered customers the choice of either taking the horse in his stall nearest to the door or taking none at all.