Trace self-RICA service
Trace Mobile has launched a SIM card ordering and self-RICA system that takes users less than two minutes to complete via the Trace app.
The app lets users RICA their SIM card in three steps, using an ID and profile facial recognition system to process the application. Trace Mobile also makes it easier to order a SIM, RICA it and collect it instantly at more than 600 Clicks stores countrywide. The user’s selfie, ID number, surname and address are verified against each other, using optical character recognition technologies which comply with the POPI and RICA acts to protect the subscribers’ personal information.
Platform: Android and iOS
Expect to pay: A free download.
Smartphones can now act as advanced ID fingerprint scanners in South Africa, thanks to WhoYou.
The app allows you to verify who you’re dealing with by just taking a photo of the person’s two thumbprints. In seconds, WhoYou will compare the photographed thumbprints against the National Population Register (NPR), maintained by the Department of Home Affairs, and return a confirmation of the person’s ID details as well as their photo.
Until now, only South African banks and telecommunications companies have had the ability to verify people’s identities against the NPR — and even this has depended on the use of traditional fingerprint scanners.
Although the app is easily installed, users of the app have to register themselves, which involves scanning the left and right fingers and thumbs. This is easier said than done and, after trying numerous times, I eventually gave up. This comes after the once-off R4 enrolment fee.
The app is expected to play a significant role in curbing identity fraud for a range of scenarios — from retailers dealing with account openings to insurers handling claims processing, and authentication for debit orders from customer accounts. The app can also help individuals verify the identity of suppliers working at their homes or businesses.
WhoYou is fully compliant with the South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information (Popi) Act. However, the subjects of identity verification have to first give consent and accept the terms and conditions in-app before allowing their fingerprints to be photographed.
Businesses can either use the WhoYou smartphone app or they can use their existing fingerprint scanners with the WhoYou Windows app. The WhoYou computer app works on desktops or laptops.
Platform: Android and Windows with iOS coming soon.
Expect to pay: A free download with an enrolment fee of R4 for individuals. Individual users will then pay a R4 fee per transaction or verification, while a volume-based fee or licence model will be aimed at businesses.
Stockists: Visit WhoYou here for registration details.
FNB now tracks fitness, savings and health
FNB has expanded the nav» functionality on the FNB App by allowing customers to set and track their savings, health and fitness goals.
The new functionality is a continuation of the nav» journey which began in 2016 when FNB introduced nav» Home, followed by nav» Car and, more recently, nav» Money.
The process has been designed to calculate how much a customer needs to save for a goal, recommend a personalised savings solution and include the ability to track progress.
The bank’s goal-based solution offers customers the option of 10 main savings goals categories, including: education, emergencies, travel, save to start a business as well as health and wellness – with over 50 different sub categories. Customers also have an option to create and name their own goal.
The nav» Wellness feature requires users to complete a questionnaire to get insights into their wellness score before setting goals to improve their score. There is also a feature that allows them to order prescription medicine from their nearest Dis-Chem pharmacy from within the FNB App, and be notified when it is ready for collection. The bank has also negotiated discounts with a number of health and wellness partners and has set up monthly deals with the following:
- VIVA Gyms: 40% off 12-month contract if paid in full up front;
- Body Tec: 35% off a 10-session contract and/or 75% off a trial voucher and eBucks are accepted;
- Life Day Spa: 20% off during the week with the convenience of using eBucks to pay for treatments;
- BOUNCE: 25% off for Bounce Fit/Students/Junior Jumpers/General Access and eBucks are accepted;
- DNAlysis: 35% off diet, health and sport genetic testing and accepts eBucks;
- Monthly Deals: Exciting discounts which change month to month. Current discounts from Fitchef, Faithful to Nature, Ucook, Life Day Spa, Bounce and Bodytec, with many more partners and deals coming soon.
Platform: Android and iOS
Stockists: Visit FNB here for downloading instructions
Expect to pay: A free download.
biNu has announced that its Moya Messenger and content app is now being used by more than one million people in South Africa every month, with 650 000 people using it every day.
The key differentiator between Moya, WhatsApp and other messaging platforms is that no data costs are incurred by users to send and receive 1-to-1 or group messages – and visit a range of #datafree websites and apps.
For enterprises looking for new ways to engage with mass-market mobile users in South Africa, Moya includes the “Discover” feature, where people engage with #datafree digital content and services.
biNu helps commercial businesses, public agencies, NGOs, not-for-profits, and other organisations to build content for Discover, including full and micro websites, apps, full screen video advertising and surveys.
Early adopters that are interacting with Moya’s one million users through Discover include Tiso Blackstar, Cosmopolitan magazine, Assupol Insurance, iQ Academy, Adzuna Job Search, Kuba Services, WeMarket, Sanlam Insurance, DirectAxis, Arial, Nivea and Project UBU.
Platform: Android with an iOS version coming out soon
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Moya Messenger can be downloaded here.
Spotify Premium free for 3 months
Spotify Premium is giving users who are new to the Premium package more time to use its features, offering the first 3 months for free.
The offer is based on always-on/not limited time, and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally.
“Music and podcasts play an important role in people’s lives so we wanted to give users the first 3 months for free to fully enjoy everything that Spotify Premium has to offer,” says Spotify Chief Premium Business, Officer Alex Norström. “We know it takes time to fully experience all of the features available with Premium, so we’re giving people the time that they need to fall in love with Premium’s listening experience and on-demand access to more than 50 million tracks, billions of playlists and 450 000 podcast titles for free.”
Platform: Android and iOS
Expect to pay: Free to download and use for the first three months
Stockists: Sign up for Spotify Premium here.
SA’s Internet goes down again
South Africa is about to experience a small repeat of the lower speeds and loss of Internet connectivity suffered in January, thanks to a new undersea cable break, writes BRYAN TURNER
Internet service provider Afrihost has notified customers that there are major outages across all South African Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as a result of a break in the WACS undersea cable between Portugal and England
The cause of the cable break along the cable is unclear. it marks the second major breakage event along the West African Internet sea cables this year, and comes at the worst possible time: as South Africans grow heavily dependent on their Internet connections during the COVID-19 lockdown.
As a result of the break, the use of international websites and services, which include VPNs (virtual private networks), may result in latency – decreased speeds and response times.
WACS runs from Yzerfontein in the Western Cape, up the West Coast of Africa, and terminates in the United Kingdom. It makes a stop in Portugal before it reaches the UK, and the breakage is reportedly somewhere between these two countries.
The cable is owned in portions by several companies, and the portion where the breakage has occurred belongs to Tata Communications.
The alternate routes are:
- SAT3, which runs from Melkbosstrand also in the Western Cape, up the West Coast and terminates in Portugal and Spain. This cable runs nearly parallel to WACS and has less Internet capacity than WACS.
- ACE (Africa Coast to Europe), which also runs up the West Coast.
- The SEACOM cable runs from South Africa, up the East Coast of Africa, terminating in both London and Dubai.
- The EASSy cable also runs from South Africa, up the East Coast, terminating in Sudan, from where it connects to other cables.
The routes most ISPs in South Africa use are WACS and SAT3, due to cost reasons.
The impact will not be as severe as in January, though. All international traffic is being redirected via alternative cable routes. This may be a viable method for connecting users to the Internet but might not be suitable for latency-sensitive applications like International video conferencing.
SA cellphones to be tracked to fight coronavirus
Several countries are tracking cellphones to understand who may have been exposed to coronavirus-infected people. South Africa is about to follow suit, writes BRYAN TURNER
From Israel to South Korea, governments and cell networks have been implementing measures to trace the cellphones of coronavirus-infected citizens, and who they’ve been around. The mechanisms countries have used have varied.
In Iran, citizens were encouraged to download an app that claimed to diagnose COVID-19 with a series of yes or no questions. The app also tracked real-time location with a very high level of accuracy, provided by the GPS sensor.
In Germany, all cellphones on Deutsche Telekom are being tracked through cell tower connections, providing a much coarser location, but a less invasive method of tracking. The data is being handled by the Robert Koch Institute, the German version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Taiwan, those quarantined at home are tracked via an “electronic fence”, which determines if users leave their homes.
In South Africa, preparations have started to track cellphones based on cell tower connections. The choice of this method is understandable, as many South Africans may either feel an app is too intrusive to have installed, or may not have the data to install the app. This method also allows more cellphones, including basic feature phones, to be tracked.
This means that users can be tracked on a fairly anonymised basis, because these locations can be accurate to about 2 square kilometers. Clearly, this method of tracking is not meant to monitor individual movements, but rather gain a sense of who’s been around which general area.
This data could be used to find lockdown violators, if one considers that a phone connecting in Hillbrow for the first 11 days of lockdown, and then connecting in Morningside for the next 5, likely indicates a person has moved for an extended period of time.
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that South African network providers have agreed to provide government with location data to help fight COVID-19.
Details on how the data will be used, and what it will used to determine, are still unclear.