FNB takes banking to Facebook

FNB says it has launched FNB Facebook banking which will allow users to access certain banking services through the world’s biggest social network.

Users who have an FNB account will be able to access banking through Facebook by linking their facebook profiles to their cellphone banking profile.

Once linked, they can access the “FNB Banking on facebook” application via Facebook which will allow them to check their balances, purchase prepaid products – including airtime, SMS and BlackBerry bundles – as well as the option to view LOTTO and PowerBall results.

FNB’s Social Banking

Early this year, FNB launched a service which allows its customers to purchase vouchers using cellphone banking which can be posted on facebook, hence, Facebook Banking adds to the cellphone banking repertoire.

“As a bank, we average around 15 000 conversations monthly, via social media, with existing and potential customers,” said Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO of FNB Cellphone Banking.

“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.”

There are currently close to 5 million South Africans on Facebook, and FNB itself has over 153 000 Facebook fans.

Banking on the ‘book

FNB’s move follows only two other banks, globally, which have ventured onto using Facebook as a banking platform, or otherwise hinted at the possiblity of adding such a feature.

Indian banking giant, ICICI, has already added Facebook functionality to its services, allowing customers limited banking functionality such as checking account details, getting account statements, upgrading debit card and making cheque book enquiries.

Global banking group, Citi Bank has alluded to following a similar path, guaging its clients over Twitter by asking “If you could do your banking on Facebook – Would you?”

In response to the bank’s teasing question, followers’ reaction quickly turned to the question of security.

Safe and secure?

FNB’s Facebook functionality operates through linking to one’s cellphone banking account; the service does not offer full banking functionality, but does allow customers to buy airtime and vouchers, which does raise the question of security.

Even though banking details are obviously not shared with friends, the app does warn customers to keep their Facebook login details secure and not to share them with anyone.

“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,” said FNB’s Ravesh Ramlakan.

“This solution leverages off the security for FNB Cellphone Banking and it is not possible for someone else to gain access to the customer’s Facebook Banking application. The only exception is where a customer provides their Facebook credentials 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. In addition, Facebook provides guidelines on how to protect a user Facebook account,” he finished.

FNB’s Linking process

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FNB takes banking to Facebook