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Tap and pay with FNB’s new app

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First National Bank (FNB) this week unveiled the FNB Banking App 5.0, which features new solutions like FNB Pay, Fingerprint ID, Secure Chat, Smart inContact, 1-touch Report Fraud, as well as the FNB Watch App.

Jacques Celliers, FNB CEO says the bank views the App as a gateway into the future of banking. “The App is designed to solve for crucial customer needs such as more control of one’s bank account, cost-saving, better security and the need to bank anywhere, anytime.

“The intuitive new features of App 5.0 are a clear demonstration of how we are prioritising customer needs.  This platform also puts us in a much better position to continue capitalising on the seamless convergence of banking and telecoms, to produce integrated solutions,” he says.

The distinctive and pioneering feature of FNB App 5.0 is FNB Pay, a globally accepted contactless payment solution which allows customers to purchase goods by simply tapping their smartphone on a contactless enabled point of sale terminal. A first in Africa, FNB Pay enables customers to quickly and conveniently purchase goods below R200 without entering their card PIN. Customers have options on how they can securely perform transactions through FNB Pay.

Raj Makanjee, FNB Premium CEO says, “As of today, FNB customers with an NFC enabled Android device can download the latest version of the FNB App and start making purchases at any contactless payment terminal. Once FNB App 5.0 has been downloaded, the customer automatically gets FNB Pay and can link it to any of their FNB cards.”

“The timing is perfect for contactless technology in South Africa as local merchants are gradually increasing contactless infrastructure. This is one of the reasons why 100% of the new or replacement cards we are now issuing are contactless cards across our Debit and Credit portfolios. Not only does the functionality make it effortless for customers to pay for goods and services, it helps merchants to process transactions far quicker, thus assisting in reducing queues,” adds Makanjee.

With fraud being a global concern for clients that use digital platforms, FNB App 5.0 brings industry-leading security features to enable customers to detect and report fraud. The industry first inContact solution has evolved to introduce Smart InContact, which notifies customers of transactions as low as one cent, with full control to report fraud with 1-touch of the Smart inContact notification to the 24/7 FNB Fraud line.

Smart inContact also replaces SMS OTPs as a secure way to approve, reject or report fraud for any Online Banking transactions. Logins from unknown or suspicious devices also trigger a Smart inContact notification for the customer to verify or reject the device. This is built off the existing intelligence of FNB’s systems to notify customers of potentially risky transactions or devices accessing their profiles, allowing them take control to approve or reject these transactions. Customers without FNB App 5.0 will continue to receive SMS notifications and OTPs until they download or update to the latest version of the app.

App users can now authenticate themselves through Fingerprint ID available to both Android and iPhone owners, which uses a fingerprint sensor to verify the user before giving access to the account profile.

FNB clients who qualify for premier and private banking services will also be able to use Secure Chat to enquire about services or send instructions to their private banking support team, all done through the App after securely logging in.  Secure Chat gives customers 24/7 banking support without the risks of phishing or identity theft.

Another exciting revelation is the FNB Watch App, which extends key features of the FNB Banking App onto an Android or Apple smartwatch.  To signify the launch of the Watch App, FNB customers get up to 40% discount when purchasing a smartwatch via the eBucks Online shop.

“All these features have enhanced the FNB Banking App both from a functionality and most importantly, security point of view.  The growing active-user base and global accolades of the App attest to the compelling proposition of the platform. App 5.0 will go a long way towards improving customer experience, making banking easier, safer and convenient,” says Makanjee

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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