In a first for the South African banking industry, Capitec Bank is pioneering a new biometric identification system to provide increased security for client transactions and lower banking fees.

A paperless identification system, biometrics refers to the digital identification of a person through their personal characteristics. This can include fingerprint scanning, face recognition, voice recognition and iris identification.
Riaan Stassen, Capitec Bank CEO, says: "The sophisticated yet simple biometric device that we are implementing in our branches is an example of how we strive to use innovative technology to drive down costs while enhancing security and offering clients greater peace of mind. The biometric devices allow immediate verification and instant account access, in real-time, assuring clients that only they can transact on their account."
Used extensively in Europe, the US and Australia, the introduction of biometric identification by Capitec Bank is a local industry first. Using fingerprint and photographic recognition, the system is used in-branch when a client opens an account and any time they need to liaise with a consultant thereafter.
"Recognising a client through their fingerprints fosters credibility. So, if for example a client's card is stolen, the fraudster cannot transact in the branch and their money is safe," adds Stassen.
Biometrics will further help clients save on bank and administration fees as the system is faster than PIN-identification and more secure, as it requires the client to be physically present when the transaction takes place.
Stassen adds: "By introducing biometrics into our branches, we lessen the risk of fraud, increase client's trust in our Global One Facility, drive down costs and save time in the process. All of which ensure a better and more transparent client-centric banking service."
Currently available in 58 of Capitec Bank's 365 branches, the bank plans to implement biometrics in their remaining branches during the course of the year.
"For now, the technology is used to confirm client identification in-branch. However, in future we also plan to use it for the digital signing of contracts," Stassen says.