FNB goes social with Facebook banking PDF Print E-mail

First National Bank (FNB) is making banking more social with the launch of a new service that will allow consumers to do some of their banking on Facebook.

The new FNB Banking on Facebook application is being touted as a first for South African banking. It will enable those FNB customers that are registered for cellphone banking, to access some of the bank’s services via the social networking site. From there, they will be able to check their account balances; purchase prepaid products such as SMS bundles, data bundles and BlackBerry bundles; and even check the Lotto and Powerball results.

In order to activate the service, customers will need to link their Facebook profiles to their FNB accounts. According to Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO of FNB’s Cellphone Banking, the service will work on the majority of handsets in the market that support mobile internet access.

Will the Facebook Banking service be secure and safe to use? “Our solution only allows the registered FNB Cellphone Banking customer access to his/her Banking application on Facebook once the customer has linked his/her Facebook profile via FNB Cellphone Banking,” Ramlakan says. “This solution leverages the security for FNB Cellphone Banking and it is not possible for someone else to gain access to the customer’s Facebook Banking application.”

Ramlakan cautions that there is one exception, when customers provide their Facebook login details to another user. “However, even if someone did manage to breach a Facebook account, they can’t transfer funds out of the account, nor can they purchase prepaid products for themselves,” he says. “In addition, Facebook provides guidelines on how to protect a user’s Facebook account. Lastly, the Facebook Banking app cannot be viewed by another Facebook user.”

This new offering, which has already gone live, is FNB’s second foray into Facebook. Earlier this year, the bank launched a service that allows customers to purchase vouchers which they can give to their Facebook friends as gifts. These vouchers can be redeemed as prepaid airtime or be exchanged for cash via the bank’s eWallet service.

Ramlakan says that the brand already enjoys a large social media presence on Facebook. Of the more than 4.7 million active Facebook users in South Africa, more than 150 000 are FNB Facebook fans, he says.

“As a bank, we average around 15 000 conversations monthly, via social media, with existing and potential customers,” says Ramlakan. “It is without a doubt that social media banking is the next frontier. To us, this is a channel that will provide our customers with more choice and convenience to do their banking.”

Ramlakan concludes that FNB plans to expand Facebook Banking to include even more services in the future. “We are definitely working on expanding our Facebook offering and bring in more banking features on the channel.”

To register for cellphone banking, visit www.fnb.mobi on your handset’s browser.  

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by justen, July 19, 2012
I've been a fan of FNB ever since they altered the way I percieve banking. They're not only the most innovative bank in SA, but I'd go so far as to say one of the top innovators in banking, globally.
That said, Social Banking is really a radical step.
In my honest opinion, I can't see the advantages or the positive user experience something like this would offer. In fact, banking is a secure, personal and serious affair. A contradiction of what a social network offers. I wouldn't feel comfortable having an API channel open between my banking, and my social profiles.
The core faults of this step by FNB, IMHO, can be summed up as follows:
1. Have you ever forgotten to log out of facebook? Me too. Bazinga!
2. The bank already keeps a profile on you. The risk you pose, your financial habits, etc. Would you want your Facebook profile to influence that? "Dear Justen, we see on facebook that you had a great time at News Cafe last night. But do you really think that was a good way to spend your last R500?"(Note: This might me taking it a bit too far, but the point is that integration would make this possible.)
3. Why would I want link my most secure online account, with an account with mediocre security at best, and many other risks to boot?
4. What would be the advantages? Except if I'm too lazy to open a new tab for banking, and would like to do everything within Facebook. Then there would be a huge market for "Microsoft Office for Facebook"!

How do YOU feel about this? Personally FNB, I like you, keep making cool apps, keep making banking easier, keep giving support via social media and stay on the bleeding edge of technology. Just stop this silly integration stuff. Some things are meant to work on their own.

Add your 2Cents
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