South African banks testing biometric security for ATMs

FNB recently launched its new Tap-and-PIN functionality at a number of its ATMs across the country, with plans to roll out the feature to more machines next year.

Tap-and-PIN allows users to withdraw cash and make transactions at ATMs by tapping their contactless card on an NFC reader.

This removes the need for FNB cardholders to physically insert their card into an ATM.

While this feature is great for FNB users, customers of other banks are not yet able to use FNB Tap-and-PIN ATMs.

To determine whether other banks would be implementing similar technology, MyBroadband asked Absa, Standard Bank, and Nedbank about their plans for improved ATM functionality.


Absa head of alternative channels Pierre Bornman told MyBroadband the bank is investigating new ATM technologies, including Tap-and-PIN features.

“Contactless card and Tap-and-Pin, on our ATMs, are some of the new functionalities we are investigating to ensure that we are in-step with our customers.”

“We are also looking at new mechanisms to prevent and mitigate risks associated with ATM transacting.”

In respect of ATM-specific features, Absa is investigating the introduction of biometrics to ATMs “with the aim of protecting and/or mitigating fraud”, Bornman said.

Absa noted that the South African market remains predominantly cash-based, and the demand for ATMs is increasing.

“We expect the volume of ATM transactions to continue to grow, as we expand our self-service banking services on ATMs as well as improving existing services.”

Absa logo


A Nedbank spokesperson told MyBroadband it was working on new ATM technologies to improve user experience, including biometric functionality.

Nedbank said ATMs are key to its client self-service offerings, and delivering additional functionality and capabilities on self-service channels is key to this strategy.

“Some of our recent innovations on self-service devices include stamped A4 statements on our cash accepting devices, a new kiosk solution with various features and functionality, and a new MobiMoney wallet solution on ATMs.”

Nedbank also confirmed that the demand for cash continues to grow in South Africa.

“Over the past five years, cash throughput on ATMs increased by more than 100%,” the bank said.

“We have noted an increase in usage of non-cash transactions like stamped A4 statements and we will continue to expand our service offering on self-service devices.”

Nedbank logo

Standard Bank

Standard Bank said it was looking at implementing new functionalities on its ATMs.

“The bank is always exploring opportunities to implement new functionalities that will benefit our customers,” it said.

“We do, however, wish to point out that we do not have any real impact as a result of card skimming, due to the remedial actions we have put in place over the last couple of years.”

The bank said it has a planned implementation programme for 2019 for both cash and non-cash transaction ATM functionalities.

Standard Bank noted that while mobile banking adoption is high, ATMs remain very popular in South Africa.

“We also see a growth in transactions on ATM’s traditionally done in branches, such as cash deposits,” Standard Bank said.

“We can also see our efforts to improve ATM services and availability being valued by our ATM users, with a significant improvement in external customer measures, such as the reduction in our Ombudsman complaints.”

Standard Bank logo

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South African banks testing biometric security for ATMs