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FNB allows selfie authentication

FNB has announced that SMEs can now completely switch or open a new bank account in less than five minutes through selfie authentication and digital KYC (Know Your Customer) on the FNB App.

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This paperless cheque account opening process uses biometric technology to validate the business and its owner, allows the SME to order and courier new cards, switch debit orders and setup digital banking immediately.

This “marks a significant milestone in our 180-year history as we move beyond being a digital innovator to a broader contextual platform disruptor,” FNB CEO Jacques Celliers said at the launch of the service on Wednesday. “It is through this contextually helpful platform that we can offer holistic financial solutions and become a trusted partner to the broader society. This will enable us to help create a better world for years to come.”

Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business said FNB had worked hard to understand how SMEs operate and the day to day challenges they faced, which were considerable.

“We have coined the phrase ‘businessism’ inside FNB, driving our focus on solutions that remove those moments of angst that businesses face – from registering a company and opening a bank account, to applying for credit and managing the businesses daily affairs,” said Vacy-Lyle. “Our digital solutions now cater for the entire SME value chain via Online Banking Enterprise, which is linked to the FNB App.”

The focus on fintech has grown significantly on the African continent.  Although there are a number players that actively innovate in the SME market, they often lack scale and fail to deliver a single platform that is convenient and does not pose additional cost, security and administrative burdens.

“Therefore, it was imperative that we not only integrate key solutions, but further incorporate trust and simplicity to our platforms, while ensuring that we do not add complexity in an already over-crowded marketplace,” said Vacy-Lyle.

FNB Business revealed the following statistics regarding its SME offerings:

  • An average of 3000 new company registrations were initiated every month on digital channels in the last year, with more than 1,000 assisted CIPC registrations per month.
  • Over 300 000 customers accessed digital account confirmation letters online (with SARS endorsement)  eradicating the need to go to branch or call in for assistance.
  • eWallet Pro payments between SME’s and casual workers increased 40% year on year.
  • Over 4 500 customers used DocTrail which allows businesses to easily attach source or reference documents to all their digital payments in the cloud, creating a transparent and auditable trail for every payment execution.
  • Over 200,000 customers registered to use FNB’s suite of Instant Value Add solutions, that help take the angst out of your day-to-day business administration of bookkeeping, payroll and invoicing.
  • FNB Instant Invoicing produces over 40,000 compliant tax invoices per month for businesses;
  • Business clients can now make payments, including Pay-and-Clear now, as well as those that require multiple authorisations on FNB’s digital channels.
  • More than 50% of all credit applications in FNB Business are now digitally originated and approved representing more than R200m per month of new SME credit facilities.

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The myths of microwaves

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We all know microwaves make cooking a breeze and it helps save those minutes, we rarely have enough of these days. However, some people do have those lingering doubts about whether microwaving food destroys nutrients or that it emits harmful radiation. However, the truth is a lot more comforting and positive.

“The microwave makes life so much easier,” says Tracy Gordon, Head of Product – Home Appliances at Samsung South Africa. “It’s human-centred technology at its most helpful. The Samsung Hotblast for example, has revolutionary functions, which are tailor-made to create fast, tasty and healthy meals in minutes.”

A recent article by Harvard Health Publishingclaims stated that “microwave ovens cook food using waves of energy that are remarkably selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically asymmetrical. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up thermal (heat) energy.” The article debunks two common myths about microwaving food.

Myth 1: Microwaving kills nutrients

Whether in a microwave or a regular oven, some nutrients, including vitamin C, do break down when exposed to heat. However, the fact is, cooking with a microwave might be better when it comes to preserving nutrients because it takes a shorter time to cook. Additionally, as far as vegetables go, cooking them in water robs them of some of their nutritional value because the nutrients seep out into the cooking water,” states the report by Harvard Health Publishing. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), food cooked in a microwave oven is as safe and has the same nutrient value, as food cooked in a conventional oven.

Myth 2: Microwaving food can give you cancer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that microwaves do not make food radioactive. Microwaves heat food but they do not change the chemical or molecular structure of it. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence that microwaves pose a health risk to people when used appropriately, the organisation added.

With those myths well busted, it’s comforting to know one can make full use of the convenient kitchen appliance. And when the time comes to use a microwave to heat up a tasty meal in no time, one can trust the Samsung Hotblast to do the job. The HotBlast has multiple air holes blowing out powerful hot air, which reduces cooking time. Samsung claims the Slim Fry technology ensures that food is perfectly crisp on the outside and delicious and juicy on the inside. Additionally, this versatile microwave has a wider grill, making it easier to brown food fast and evenly. The turntable is wider, measuring 345mm, making it possible to prepare bigger portions of food. And with its Eco Mode power, it significantly reduces energy consumption with its low standby power. Its intelligent features and stylish design makes it very useful and as we now know – a safe, healthy way to enjoy a meal.

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New BMW 3-series ushers in autonomous future

The new BMW 3-series is not meant to be an autonomous car, but it is so close, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK discovers.

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It was not meant to be a test-drive of an autonomous vehicle. But the Driving Assist button on the steering wheel of the new BMW 330i was just too tempting. And there I found myself, on Sir Lowry’s Pass near Cape Town, “driving” with my arms folded while the vehicle negotiated curves on its own.

Every 10 seconds or so, yellow or red lights flashed to alert me to put my hands back on the wheel. The yellow lights meant the car wanted me to put my hands on the wheel, just to show that I was in control. The red lights meant that I had to take over control from the artificial intelligence built into the vehicle.

With co-driver Ernest Page, we negotiated a major highway, the bends of Sir Lowry’s pass, and the passes of Hell’s Heights (Hel se Hoogte) above the Cape Winelands.

As the above video of the experience reveals, it can be nerve-racking for someone who hasn’t experienced autonomous driving, or hasn’t been dreaming of testing it for many years. For this driver, it was exhilarating. Not because the car performed so magnificently, but because it tells us just how close true autonomous driving really is.

There was one nervous moment when the autonomous – or rather, Driving Assist – mode disengaged on Hell’s Heights, but fear not. A powerful sense of responsibility prevailed, and my hands hovered over the steering wheel as it took the curve. Assist disengaged, and the car began to veer towards the other side of the road. I quickly took over, and also sobered up from the giddiness of thinking I was already in the future.

In reality, Driving Assist is part of level 2 of driving autonomy, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. A presentation on the evening of the test drive, by Edward Makwana, manager of group product communications at BMW Group in South Africa, summed up the five stages as the driver having Feet Off, Hands Off, Eyes Off, Mind off, and finally, only being a Passenger.

However, the extent to which the hands-off mode of Driving Assist mimics self-driving, and easily shows the way to eyes-off and mind-off, is astonishing.

Click here to read about the components that make the Driving Assist work.

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