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First National Bank of South Africa (FNB), one of the top five biggest banks in South Africa, has launched a tap-and-go payment system for consumers using Fitbit or GARMIN Wearable. That means customers can use the contactless-enabled point-of-sale devices to make payment quickly when checking out at a local store.

That means a customer after doing rounds in the supermarket picking stuff into their cart does not have to waste time queuing up at the Point-of-Sale waiting for a human attendant to take the cash. They simply walk to the contactless-enabled point-of-sale device, tap the wallet feature on their wearable and pay. The same way they would pay with an FNB Pay enabled smartphone or a contactless card.

This latest offering complements a number of our digital solutions that enable customers to conveniently make payments without the need for carrying a physical card or cash,” said Jason Viljoen, Head of Digital Payments at FNB. “It further aligns to our ongoing strategy to migrate customers to digital channels where we continuously provide them with innovative and customer-centric solutions that meet a diverse range of needs.

There is no denying this development is good for the consumers in South Africa, as it is reported many people in the country already use wearable devices mainly for health purposes. However, there is a serious point of concern, how secure is the technology?

If the Fitbit or GARMIN wearable device gets lost or stolen, will it mean someone can make purchase then pay using your account balance without your consent? FNB believes that they have put in place appropriate security measures to safeguard against such incidences.

FNB says they have put in place a multi-layers security system including encryption and tokenization that will make it hard for the technology have unauthorized access. Another security feature in cases the wearable device leaves the authentic owner’s wrist, the use (unauthorized) will need to enter the wearable pass-code once it gets back on the wrist. The passcode has to be entered before the payment feature is re-activated.

The device stays authenticated for 24 hours or until you take it off your wrist. In addition, the point of sale device will also prompt you to enter your card PIN for certain transactions. Both your card PIN and device passcode should never be shared with anyone.”

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