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FNB goes virtual, moving into the next era of card payments

(Image credit: FNB)

There was once a time, around the 80s and 90s, where credit cards were being hyped as the payment system to replace cash. While it has taken more than a decade for this to ramp up, especially in South Africa, FNB are already moving on to the next phase, getting rid of the physical plastic card altogether. 

FNB have launched their new Virtual Card for individuals and businesses, which will be available in October 2020. 

It may only be available to their customers for now, but South Africa's fairly quick adoption rates means it is likely other banks will begin offering similar services soon. 

How it works

The Virtual Card works exactly like a physical card. It can be used on tap card machines, in QR payment systems like SnapScan and online.

FNB customers can activate the card at no extra cost, and it will be sitting in the FNB app for whenever they need it. 

A major benefit is that you can create a Virtual Card for each transactional account, this can help you monitor and organise your spending rather than swiping one card for everything. 

It can also be loaded onto wearable devices that have the correct compatibility, so you can pay with your smartwatch as well. 

The expiry date is also longer, which means not having to worry about replacing the card as often. 

Is it safe? 

There is always a risk when using new technology but FNB have assured customers that the Virtual Card is even more secure than it's physical counterpart. 

These include a dynamic Card Verification Value (CVV) security number that changes every hour to avoid online shopping fraud. 

Since the card is located in the app, should your phone be stolen you can login to the app on another device and block the card to ensure no one uses it should they get into your app. 

The app will also prompt customers to authenticate transactions, which removes the constant receptive One-Time Password process which is common when buying online. 

Leila Stein

Leila Stein is an experienced multimedia journalist and content producer with a special interest in data journalism. she is skilled in news writing, editing, online writing and multimedia content production and have a Bachelor of Journalism  from Rhodes University and an Honours in Historical Studies from University of Cape Town.