Capitec, South Africa’s largest digital bank, has launched an innovative feature on their new app that makes it possible for consumers to open an account from anywhere, anytime using facial biometrics. The process takes only a few minutes and uses advanced technology to ensure that an actual person is in front of the camera and not a photo, with images verified against the Department of Home Affairs’ database in real-time.
While many traditional banks offer the ability to open an account with a selfie, they mostly still require a branch visit to activate the account. Capitec’s gives clients an active account in minutes with a virtual card that they can use immediately without the need to visit a branch.
“We’re continuously innovating to simplify banking even further for our clients,” says Francois Viviers, executive of Marketing and Communications at Capitec.
“We’ve seen a high demand for our digital offering with an increase of 28% over the past 12 months to 8.6 million digital banking clients. This new feature allows us to offer a convenient, digital way to join Capitec that takes only a few minutes and doesn’t require any paperwork. It is also very relevant in our new COVID reality where clients want to be able to bank and shop from their own home.”
“The needs of South Africans are at the core of everything we do. We’ve received many social media comments from people saying they want to move to Capitec, but can’t find the time to visit a branch. We also had people who said they needed a home loan offering before they could move banks. Last year, we launched a fully digital home loans solution and now we’re making it possible to join us from anywhere, anytime with your smartphone.”
Once the account is created, new clients are given a virtual card that can be used for online transactions, QR payments and can be loaded in apps such as Uber, Netflix and MrD.
“The virtual card is a new feature available to all clients that offers an additional layer of security for online shopping and online subscription services. The card’s details are stored securely on our app and are not linked to the client’s physical card. This means our clients will no longer have to enter their physical card details into online payment portals. Unique daily spend limits can also 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” says Viviers.
At present new clients have to visit their nearest branch to pick up their physical card through a quick and secure process. However, 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 not only offers convenience through negating the need to visit a branch but is also more environmentally friendly than printed contracts.
“Last year we introduced paperless banking in our branches, allowing clients to sign contracts using fingerprint biometrics. It helped reduce friction for the client and reduce our carbon footprint while offering clients increased safety as biometric readers are easier to sanitise than printed pages. We’ve now taken it a step further, allowing clients to sign contracts on our app using facial biometrics.”