Capitec fights back against R99 debit order fraud

Debit orders have come under increased scrutiny in South Africa, with thousands of banking customers hit by a ‘mysterious R99 debit order’ .

Despite these issues, many people don’t know which debit orders go off their account each month which puts them at serious risk, says Francois Viviers, executive of marketing and Communications at Capitec.

“Firstly, not knowing what debit orders are active on your account, obviously makes you less likely to be able to spot fraud.

“That’s why it’s so alarming that about 34% of poll participants were unsure about their debit order activity,” he said.

“Traditionally, debit order fraud is also not immediately identified because clients don’t tend to receive any notifications about debit orders below R100 – hence, the term ‘R99 scam’.

“Capitec has combatted this by lowering the minimum value of debit orders that trigger SMS notifications to R30, as well as making the ability to check existing debit orders accessible for all clients to check on the app for free.”


South African banks use a system called DebiCheck which enables the client to confirm the debit order, once off, at the start of a contract between a client and a company.

This ensures no unauthorised debit orders can be submitted.

“We give our clients four different ways to accept or decline DebiCheck debit orders. This gives you the freedom to select the option that is most convenient for you,” said Viviers.

These include:

  • Use your banking app: The client can use their banking app to authorise the DebiCheck debit order;
  • USSD: If you’re a Capitec client, after you get your DebiCheck SMS, dial *120*3279# and choose option 8 to see all the details of the DebiCheck debit order on your phone’s screen. You can select whether to approve or decline the DebiCheck debit order. You’ll then be asked to enter your mobile banking pin;
  • 24-hour Client Care Centre: Capitec offers clients access to 24-hour Client Care. So, after getting your DebiCheck SMS, simply phone in and a consultant will help you approve or decline an order;
  • Pop into a branch: If you receive a DebiCheck SMS asking you to approve a DebiCheck debit order, you can go to your nearest bank branch and ask a service consultant to help you authorise or decline the DebiCheck debit order.

If you want to cancel a debit order completely, you need to contact the original service provider that you set the contract up with – not your bank, said Viviers.

“For example, you’d contact the gym to end a gym contract. However, if you cancel a debit order and it continues to go off your account, you can dispute it via your banking app.

“If you dispute a debit order on your app in less than 40 days of it having occurred, the money gets reversed into your account immediately,” he said.

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Capitec fights back against R99 debit order fraud