You can now get an FNB account by taking a selfie

First National Bank said on Wednesday that it is introducing new functionality into its smartphone banking app that will allow consumers to sign up for a bank account by taking a “selfie” in an entirely paperless process.

Users simply take a photo of themselves, and this then uploaded and “biometrically verified” with the department of home affairs in a secure way, the bank said at a press conference in Sandton.

Key to the innovation, which works for opening both business and personal accounts, is the bank’s partnership with home affairs, said CEO Jacques Celliers. The new functionality is available immediately.

The bank will leverage the “rich data” it already has about South Africans, said FNB Retail CEO Raj Makanjee. He said the new feature will do away with the hassle of queues and paperwork. “All you need is the app and an e-mail address.”

The service is available to South African consumers who have an ID document. It will use other technology features, such as geolocation to verify the applicant’s home address.

At the same time, FNB announced a number of new features to be launched in its smartphone app in 2018. These include the ability to pay a merchant by scanning a QR code, similar to the way people use apps such as SnapScan and Zapper.

Also, in the coming months the bank will introduce contactless payments using smartwatches, including those from Garmin and Fitbit.

“You will be able to tap your wearable and pay for your coffee, or whatever. It will be live in the next month or two,” said Makanjee.

The Apple Watch will not be supported at launch because it is a “closed system and they (Apple) don’t want to play in South Africa yet”. When Apple is ready to launch in South Africa, FNB will support the Watch, he said.  — © 2018 NewsCentral Media