Some media reports in recent days have implied that First National Bank is ditching its support of “tap to pay” services on Android devices. This is not the case.
FNB confirmed to TechCentral on Tuesday that it is ending support for “tap to pay” – where customers tap their phones at the point of sale to complete a purchase – in its own banking app only.
A wide range of popular services, including Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, will continue to be supported by the bank, meaning consumers can continue to tap their phones at the point of sale – just not using FNB’s own app. Those that use this functionality in FNB’s app can simply switch to an alternative offering, which FNB will continue to support through its banking platforms.
FNB head of card digitisation Jason Viljoen told TechCentral in an e-mailed response to questions: “Only our homegrown FNB Tap to Pay feature in the banking app will be ‘sunsetted’ in favour of our numerous other contactless payment alternatives.
“The sunset of the banking app feature will be completed in April, with existing users of the feature still being able to transact until this time,” Viljoen said.
“FNB continues to support contactless payments via bank card and all other digital contactless solutions. These include Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Garmin Pay, Fitbit Pay and Swatch Pay.”
Asked why it has decided to end support for the feature in its own banking app, Viljoen said FNB is “constantly looking to streamline and integrate popular contactless solutions into our various customer journeys (such as sales, card renewals and replacements)”.
“The decision to phase out FNB Tap to Pay was made with careful consideration. The landscape of digital payments is rapidly evolving, with giants like Google Wallet continually enhancing user experience and adding functionality beyond contactless tapping.
“Our decision to ‘sunset’ our homegrown solution is a strategic move to simplify the payment process for our customers. We aim to reduce the decision-making burden on our customers of which wallet to use by offering them the most streamlined and efficient payment experiences available today…”
For months, FNB has been actively recommending customers who use its virtual cards to add these to Google Wallet, raising questions about whether the bank has forged an alliance with the internet giant for payments.
Read: FNB named top digital bank – but challengers are circling
“As we transition away from FNB’s in-app Tap to Pay, our top priority is to ensure a smooth and hassle-free migration experience for our customers as they adopt alternative contactless digital wallet solutions,” said Viljoen.
“From our point of view, Google Wallet provides our Android device-based customers currently using FNB’s in-app Tap to Pay the simplest switch to an alternative app-based contactless solution.”
He said this is due to:
- There being broad global support for Google Wallet across the Android smart device base, agnostic of device brand, and users can simply register from within the FNB banking app via the “Cards” tab.
- Google Wallet supporting compatible Android wearables and being integrated into the Chrome web browser, enabling seamless and secure e-commerce experiences that FNB Tap to Pay in the banking app is unable to support.
- Google Wallet for Android supporting numerous other features, such as the adding of passes and tickets.
“There is no arrangement between FNB and Google for the service. Based on the above points, we believe that Google Wallet and other compatible contactless wallets are all great alternatives for our existing Android banking app-based Tap to Pay users,” Viljoen said.
FNB will remove its in-app Tap to Pay feature on 14 April 2024. – © 2024 NewsCentral Media
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