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SA banking customers feel safer over the counter

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A recent survey has revealed that almost half of South Africans believe that traditional over-the-counter banking is safer than doing so online.

Almost half (43%) of Internet users in South Africa believe traditional over-the-counter banking is safer than banking online, according to a survey carried out by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International. Despite these fears most people still make some payments online but many fail to take even basic security measures, putting their money and banks’ reputations at risk.

One of the easiest ways for criminals to access online bank accounts is to pose as the account owner. This can be done by getting information about the account, setting up a phishing page where users unwittingly hand over their usernames and passwords, or by intercepting username and password data with a banking Trojan when users log on to their bank’s legitimate pages. Traditional computers and mobile devices are both vulnerable to these attacks.

The survey shows that a significant number of users (64%) feel vulnerable when making financial transactions online. Moreover, just less than half (49%) reported they believe making payments offline is more reliable than online and 43% agreed that offline banking is the safer than online banking.

However, in spite of these fears, the majority of Internet users make online payments: 74% of those surveyed use their desktops or laptops for online payments, 22% locally use their tablets, 32% use their smartphones, and 14% of Smart-TV owners admitted using their Smart-TV for such operations. At the same time, according to the survey, 15% of users do nothing to protect their financial data online.

If customers choose traditional over-the-counter banking, from fear of falling victim to Internet fraud, it will hamper the adoption of high-margin online and mobile payment systems. This will force banks to invest more of their resources in low margin branches instead. Meanwhile, among those who have adopted online and mobile payments, there is a persistent security concern as they may be putting their money – and the bank’s reputation – at unnecessary risk. That is why today it is vital that banks invest in technology ensuring a secure banking environment for their customers. This approach will not only reassure customers who prefer in-branch banking that online and mobile banking is secure, it will also reduce the risk for careless customers, who might otherwise lose important financial data,” said Ross Hogan, Global Head of the Fraud Prevention Division at Kaspersky Lab.

One solution to this problem is Kaspersky Fraud Prevention, a multilayered protection platform designed specifically for banks. Kaspersky Fraud Prevention secures the financial data on customer devices, thereby increasing user loyalty and reducing the risks of the bank having to investigate incidents, pay compensation, and restore its reputation after a security breach. The platform can protect the owner of almost any device, be it a Windows PC, Mac, Windows Phone, Android or iOS.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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