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Capitec banks on fingerprints

Capitec Bank has rammed up its fight against banking fraud by linking its biometric fingerprint database to the Department of Home Affairs.

Capitec Bank, which uses fingerprint verification for bank transacting, is ramping up the fight against banking fraud with a partnership with the Department of Home Affairs.

The bank has been championing the biometric identification system since inception in 2001. All its customers’ fingerprint details are captured in its database, making it the only bank in South Africa with such an extensive biometric database.

The Capitec Bank biometric database now links to the Department of Home Affairs’ database, making it much harder for criminals to commit fraud against Capitec Bank customers.

Biometric security provides increased security for transactions and reduces associated costs by delivering a simple, transparent, accessible and affordable banking offering to increase client’s control of their money.

Carl Fischer, Executive: Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Capitec Bank, says: “The biometric system has been implemented in our branches and demonstrates how we use innovative technology to enhance security while driving down costs and making client access simpler and easier. By partnering with Home Affairs we are now making it virtually impossible for identity thieves to target our customers.

“This gives our clients greater peace of mind as it allows immediate verification across both databases. Our customers have instant account access, in real-time, and can rest assured that only they can transact on their own account. Moreover, important information on the client’s internet profile or bank account cannot be changed without their fingerprints being presented in branch.

The sophisticated fingerprint and photographic recognition technology is used in-branch when a client opens an account and any time they need to liaise with a consultant. A fingerprint serves as a signature, enabling the transaction to be processed in real-time. Every significant change of information on a client’s account can only be completed with the client’s fingerprint verification. This is a major difference between Capitec and other banks.

Recognising a client through their fingerprints fosters authenticity. So, if for example a client’s card is stolen, the fraudster cannot transact in the branch using a false ID, meaning the customer’s money is safe,” says Fischer.

Biometrics is convenient for the client as it allows the client to conduct any transaction without filling in any forms, it increases the bank’s efficiency and is also cost-effective, as it is paperless. These savings and efficiencies are passed along to Capitec Bank’s clients. “It is our efficient, paperless system that allows Capitec Bank to be very cost effective. We were recently voted SA’s best value for money bank in the South African Consumer Satisfaction Index and this is one of the reasons why,” says Fischer.

Capitec has also implemented the biometrics security among its staff. “If staff members conduct a transaction for a client, the individual staff member’s fingerprint will be linked to the specific transaction,” says Fischer.

By implementing biometrics in its branches, the bank has lessened the risk of fraud and increased its client’s trust in its Global One facility. “The use of biometric security ensures a better, simpler, more client-centric, more convenient and more transparent banking service,” concludes Fischer.

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