FNB customers in uproar after mobile phone tap-to-pay switched off
Bank says decision was taken due to increasing use of other digital payment options and Google Wallet in particular
FNB has switched off its contactless tap-to-pay facility for Android-supported mobile devices after seven years, and referred clients to other in-demand mobile payment apps such as Google Wallet.
Frustrated customers took to social media in December to complain that their contactless facility had stopped working.
“3 months later and still I cannot use the tap to pay function on my fnb app cannot register... Gives error message, have called numerous times and been told fnb is aware of the issue and working on it. Simply not on,” one user wrote on X in December.
“My FNB tap to pay has not been working since yesterday. Anyone have the same issue?” another customer posted on X the same month.
Jason Viljoen, FNB head of card digitisation, confirmed the service had been discontinued, saying it was primarily driven by the launch and up-take of alternative global digital card wallet solutions, most notably, Google Wallet”, he said.
Viljoen said the launch of tap-to-pay in 2016 was met with excitement by the local market, especially due to the “global hype” about contactless mobile payments generated from Apple Pay and Samsung Pay launching in the US.
In addition to servicing the entire compatible Android smart device base, the decision supports contactless enabled smart wearables and integrates with the Chrome web browser “for a convenient and secure e-commerce online shopping experience”, he added.
Viljoen said FNB was simplifying and streamlining the “in-app customer journeys” for Android devices, with users able to register for Google Wallet via the FNB app. The bank encouraged customers to add their virtual cards to Google Wallet via the FNB app, he added.
“In the process of adding the card to Google Wallet, you will be prompted to change your default wallet on your device. Confirm the change of the default to Google Wallet and complete the process.”
An FNB user told Business Times he was sad to see the facility go because it was a convenient method of payment.
In the process of adding the card to Google Wallet, you will be prompted to change your default wallet on your deviceFNB head of card digitisation, Jason Viljoen
“Unlike taking your wallet out with your ID, driver’s licence and other cards, I can just take my phone and pay at the tap of a button. I [now] have to take all my cards out with me and the chances of losing my card are higher,” said the customer, who asked not to be identified.
FNB said last year that contactless card payments accounted for more than 50% of all card payments by its customers, while the preference for chip and PIN payments where customer insert their cards into point-of-sale devices continues to decline.
Ashley Saffy, head of spend and customer value management at FNB Card, said at the time: “Consumers have shown a strong preference for contactless payments using their contactless-enabled cards or smart devices. One of the key reasons is that contactless payments are more convenient and faster than swiping or inserting your card”.
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