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Take a Selfie to Open Up an Account at This Bank

Taking a selfie
Taking a selfie | © Luisen Rodrigo / Flickr
A South African bank has decided to wage war against queues, and in doing so has allowed customers to open new accounts in a novel way – simply by taking a selfie.

South Africa’s First National Bank recently announced that customers can open new bank accounts from the comfort of their own homes by taking a picture of their faces. This is thanks to new technology that uses biometric data gathered from the customer in the photograph’s face, and verifies it with the country’s national records.

The new technology complies with standards laid out by the South African Reserve Bank, and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FICA). Although FICA changed its policies last year to bring them up to modern speed, and allow financial institutions to use discretion when it comes to information gathering on prospective clients, FNB is the first bank in the country to adopt these into their various product offerings.

FNB is working to modernise all aspects of the banking experience via their app © Christian Spannagel / Flickr

Previously in South Africa, customers would have to physically present to the bank in question with comprehensive documentation, including proof of address and official identity documents, and sign several paper documents.

Now, users only need download the bank’s application, choose a bank account type, enter basic contact and identifying information, choose a location on the built-in Google Maps and then capture and submit a selfie. If approved, the bank then claims to be able to deliver a banking card to the customer within three working days.

The announcement came as FNB claims to be working towards revolutionising the banking experience for its customers. This includes the integration of various card-free QR payment systems into their app, and working with wearables company Garmin to incorporate tap-and-go payments through their devices.