Banking group Capitec has launched a new feature on its banking app that allows consumers to open an account using facial biometrics.
According to the bank, the process only a few minutes and uses technology to ensure that an actual person is in front of the camera – not just a photo – with images verified against the Department of Home Affairs’ database in real-time.
Once the account is created, new clients are given a virtual card which can be used for online transactions, QR payments and can be loaded in apps such as Uber, Netflix and MrD.
The virtual card’s details are stored securely on the app and are not linked to the client’s physical card. Unique daily spend limits can be set for the virtual card and if a client suspects the card’s details have been compromised, they can immediately stop it and simply generate a new one at no additional cost.
At present new clients have to visit their nearest branch to pick up their physical card, however, Capitec said this will change later this year when the bank launches a functionality allowing cards to be safely couriered to clients who opened an account on their banking app.
The use of facial biometrics on the new banking app extends beyond just the opening of accounts. Clients can also use the bank’s proprietary ‘face-to-sign’ technology for the officiating of contracts. This further eliminated the need to visit a branch, it said.
Capitec said that the new sign up process follows high demand for digital services, with the group seeing over a million new app users in the last six months. The group now describes itself as the biggest digital bank in South Africa, boasting an increase in digital adoption by its clients of 28% over the past year, with digital clients climbing to over 8.6 million.
In its annual period up to end February 2021, the group reported a 35% increase in the number of digital transactions to 1.1 billion.
Speaking to BusinessTech, Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie said that other changes are coming to the bank’s branches in the coming months.
He said the group is currently phasing out cashiers with an automated system across all of its branches. This will form part of plans to upgrade 220 branches in 2021, with the remainder of the bank’s branches to be upgraded in 2022.
Fourie said that just two years ago, Capitec’s branches were 90% – 95% ‘assisted’, with customers receiving help in some way from an employee.
Today, Capitec’s branches are 40% ‘self-help’, with much of the branch upgrades focusing on bringing self-help kiosks and functionality to the foreground.
In explaining the decision to phase out cashiers, Fourie said that these employees will be shifted to more customer-facing roles so that they may assist clients more directly.