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FNB ATMs go tap-and-pin

FNB has become the first bank in South Africa to offer consumers the convenience and safety of ‘Tap and PIN’ on ATM transactions. 

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The feature allows consumers to tap their contactless cards on the contactless reader of an eligible FNB ATM and enter a PIN to complete the transaction without having to insert their bank card. This functionality is currently available across 100 FNB ATMs and more will be upgraded during 2019.

The Bank estimates that ATM ‘Tap and PIN’ will reduce the time it takes to make a withdrawal by up to 20 seconds per transaction. In addition to the convenience, it will offer users protection against card skimming devices by not having to insert their card for a withdrawal.

The CEO of FNB Retail, Raj Makanjee says this is a major step in the Bank’s plans to continuously improve the convenience and safety of its banking ecosystem.  He says technologies such as contactless provide opportunities to streamline interactions to align with the needs of consumers.

“In the last three years, consumers have processed approximately R1 billion worth of contactless payments from 5 million transactions on FNB issued Credit and Debit Cards alone. The frequency of use by consumers has grown by between 100% and 300% on our Credit and Debit cards respectively, highlighting the confidence of our customers in adopting new and secure payment methods. Having started issuing contactless cards three years ago, we now have over 8.5 million contactless enabled Debit and Credit cards in the hands of consumers.

Consumers’ appetite for contactless payments is equally reflected in FNB’s digital payments stream, which includes FNB Pay on the FNB App as well as FitBit Pay and Garmin Pay. FNB Pay processes an average of 700 contactless transactions per day. More than R1.5-million worth of contactless transactions were processed on FitBit Pay and Garmin Pay in the last two months.

Makanjee says: “Contactless payments offer substantial benefits in an era where consumers and retailers want to avoid long queues. From an FNB point of view, we are creating an enabling ecosystem for retailers to match consumer appetite by improving the contactless acceptance footprint in the Retail environment.”

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Arts and Entertainment

Netflix to make SA series

The world leader in streaming movies has announced the first South African production to join its Originals roster.

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World leader in entertainment streaming services Netflix this week announced its first Original series in Africa, with South African series Queen Sono.

The news comes immediately in the wake of local rival Showmax announcing it’s first original drama production. In this context, it heralds a new phase in the evolution of streaming video-on-demand in South Africa.

The action-packed series follows Queen Sono, the highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life. The series will be created by Director, Kagiso Lediga and Executive producer Tamsin Andersson.

South African actress, Pearl Thusi, will star as Queen Sono, with the character having been created with her in mind. Thusi is also known for her performance in the romantic dramedy, Catching Feelings, available on Netflix.

Pearl Thusi stars as Queen Sono in Netflix’s first original series in Africa.

“We are excited to be working with Kagiso and Pearl, to bring the story of Queen Sono to life, and we expect it to be embraced by our South African users and global audiences alike.” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Original Series at Netflix.

“We are delighted to create this original series with Netflix, and are super excited by their undeniable ability to take this homegrown South African story to a global audience. We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world” added the director and executive producer of the series, Kagiso Lediga.

The series is due to start production in 2019.

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Microsoft adds Chrome to Edge

Microsoft is working to build a new version of its Edge browser on the open-source version of Google Chrome, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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After 20 years of backing Internet Explorer and its underlying software technologies, Microsoft has chosen to integrate Chromium, the open source version of Google Chrome. This announcement comes just three years after launching Microsoft Edge, the refreshed version of Internet Explorer.

“We intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers,” said Joe Belfiore, corporate VP at Windows, in a blog post on 6 December.

The change affects the back-end elements of the browser that run in the background to make the web pages work for the user. The shift includes scrapping Microsoft’s EdgeHTML rendering engine in favour of Chrome’s Blink.

Utilising the Blink engine will allow Microsoft to support versions of new Edge on Windows 7, 8 and 10, as well as a version for macOS. Belfiore said that the company had also started contributing to the Chromium open source project: “We’ve begun making contributions to the Chromium project to help move browsing forward on new ARM-based Windows devices.”

Microsoft’s move to Chrome has shifted the “browser wars” in favour of Google Chrome, as Opera and Edge will now both be using Chrome’s rendering engine.

“If you’re a Microsoft Edge customer, there is nothing you need to do, as the Microsoft Edge you use today isn’t changing. If you are a web developer, we invite you to join our community by installing preview builds when they’re available and staying current on our testing and contributions.” said Belfiore.

Edge’s project manager, Kyle Alden, confirmed in a Reddit thread that Chrome extensions will be compatible with the new version of Edge. It is expected to launch in a preview build in early 2019.

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