We can put a man on the moon, but FNB can’t let you approve a debit order

FNB recently sent out a press release announcing it would waive its fee for stopping unauthorised debit orders

The dropping of the fee applies to cancelling unauthorised debit orders through its electronic banking channels.

Ryan Prozesky, FNB Consumer Core Banking CEO, said that eliminating fees associated with stopping debit orders via their electronic channels will empower customers.

“Customers will no longer be charged for stopping unauthorised debit orders of less than R200 through the FNB App, Online Banking, and USSD,” he said.

“Debit orders that are higher than R200 can still be stopped, disputed, and reversed via our contact centre or at any FNB branch, at a fee.”

The release also stated that FNB customers are “notified via SMS every time a new debit order is raised on their accounts for the first time, as well as the amount and the service provider’s name, and if they believe it to be unauthorised, have the ability to stop, dispute, and reverse it”.

While a move to make it easier to cancel unauthorised debit orders is welcomed, the latest announcement reinforces just how backwards the bank is when it comes to handling debit orders.

Let users approve debit orders

The problem with FNB, and South Africa’s major banks, is that it puts the onus of fixing a problem on the customer.

An FNB customer is at work or home and they get a notification that a new debit order has come off their account.

The customer sees the company name and amount, and it is not a debit order they have signed up for.

Now it is their responsibility to use a banking channel to cancel it. They must stop what they are doing and fix the problem.

An FNB user MyBroadband spoke to said the cancelling of an unauthorised debit order required them to search the app for the option, which was difficult for them to find.

Cancelling it via the app did not work when they tried it, and they then had to phone the bank’s call centre.

This was a single incident and may not be the experience of the average customer, but it should not be the experience for any user.

And if the debit order is higher than R200, you are forced to use the bank’s contact centre or an FNB branch. You are also charged a fee.

This means that if a fraudster takes out a cellphone contract in your name and places it on a debit order, for example, you have to fix the problem.

In both cases, all issues would be nipped in the bud if the bank allowed users to approve debit orders before they go off their accounts.

The scenario is simple: Someone places a new debit order on your account, the bank sees it, sends you an SMS or app notification, you open your banking app or go into online banking on your PC, and check the debit order out.

If it is legitimate, you click a button with a giant green tick on it to approve the transaction, or click a big red cross to not allow it to go through.

The issue of debit order fraud has plagued South Africa for years, yet, in 2018, banks still make it the customer’s problem.

We landed a man on the moon 49 years ago this year, but letting a user approve a debit order appears more complex than space flight for FNB.

FNB – No comment

FNB was asked why users are not able to approve debit orders before they are processed, but the bank failed to answer questions sent to it.

Now read: Standard Bank – Why won’t you tell us what is going on?

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We can put a man on the moon, but FNB can’t let you approve a debit order