FNB flags certain retailers as high-risk for online payments, as well as individual transactions, depending on a client’s behaviour.
This is true for many South African banks, and it may occasionally result in payment issues for customers.
The was the case of one MyBroadband reader who banks with FNB. The reader said he had been having issues with his card payments to online retailers and reached out to FNB customer support to resolve these problems.
He had attempted to pay an international supplier at the beginning of March but was served an “Authentication Failed” error.
After this, he attempted to make a purchase at another retailer, but this gave him the same error.
The reader said that upon contacting the FNB call centre, he was told a hold was placed on the payment due to the retailers he had purchased from being listed as “high risk” for online payments.
He was reportedly told that if he wanted to continue with the payment, he would need to send a request to the FNB fraud desk to remove the restriction for 24 hours.
The reader decided to check that his payments were working correctly, and attempted to make a payment to Takealot – but the FNB call centre agent told him that Takealot was also flagged as a high-risk merchant.
He said that to make a payment at Takealot, he was required to remove the restriction on his card.
When he asked for a list of approved retailers that did not require the lifting of this anti-fraud restriction, the call centre agent told him that only the fraud desk could provide this.
MyBroadband asked FNB about its list of high-risk retailers and how it chooses which online stores to scrutinise.
FNB anti-fraud measures and held payments
FNB said it does occasionally decline transactions to prevent possible fraud, but it had not classified Takealot as a high-risk merchant.
“As part of our commitment to protect customers against fraud, from time to time, FNB may decline transactions that are inconsistent with that customer’s usual transactional behaviour,” the bank told MyBroadband.
“This precautionary measure is implemented by considering the type of transaction, previous fraud experience, and the customer’s transacting behaviour at the merchant or similar merchants.”
“While the bank cannot divulge the merits of individual transactions, we can confirm that Takealot has not been classified as a high-risk merchant,” FNB said.
The bank said that customers who have had their transactions declined due to these fraud prevention measures should immediately contact the bank for assistance.
“In the event that a transaction has been declined, our customer can contact us for immediate assistance,” FNB said. “We reiterate that customer safety and convenience remains our top priority across all payments methods.”
While FNB said the retailers mentioned by the client were not on its high-risk list, it may have placed a hold on his transactions based on other behaviour.
Additionally, if he tried to make a purchase from a high-risk retailer previously, his card may have been flagged by the anti-fraud system.
For this reason, it is important to contact your bank as soon as you encounter problems with your online or card payments to determine whether you have become a victim of fraud.
MyBroadband spoke to numerous popular online retailers in South Africa about the reader’s issue above, but none said they had encountered any widespread problems with FNB payments.
Takealot said that it was not aware of any issues with FNB payments.