FNB now lets customers verify bank accounts with selfies

FNB says its app is its latest step towards paperless banking, and you’ll just need your face as proof of residence.

Worried about not having a proof of address? Worry no more. All you need now is a face, and fortunately most of us have one of those.

FNB on Wednesday launched a new digital innovation that allows individuals and businesses to open bank accounts in a few minutes by taking a selfie and uploading it into the bank’s app.

Speaking at the launch at FNB’s headquarters in Sandton, chief executive Jacques Celliers said “Selfie” – the name of the service – was the bank’s latest step towards paperless banking.

He said the app would move the bank “from being a digital innovator to being a data-driven contextual platform disruptor”. It had taken at least 18 months and more than 500 tech staff members to build, and the bank was leveraging the relationship it had with third parties such as the department of home affairs to make it a success.

“The real message is that we are on this exponential helpfulness journey. And now, with the help of technology, we can do so much more than we used to do. That’s our purpose,” Celliers said.

With “Selfie”, FNB’s existing and new customers upload selfies on to the FNB App, which captures biometric information about them. The app is linked to the home affairs department and uses Google Maps to validate addresses, doing away with paperwork for proof of residence.

Chief executive of FNB Business Mike Vacy-Lyle said the tech industry in South Africa was growing at a healthy rate, and the level of security on the FNB App was higher than paper, although he stressed that no system was completely foolproof, particularly from scammers.

“I am encouraged by the number of fintech activities that are happening in South Africa right now. It is making us increasingly competitive,” Vacy-Lyle said.

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