Why the FNB app needs your location data for payments

FNB says it now requires access to user locations for certain payments made via its mobile banking app.

This comes after a customer had notified MyBroadband that he was recently requested to grant access to his location at a certain point in a transaction on the app.

“I don’t have location services allowed for any app on my phone and I have never seen the reason for a bank to request access to my location,” the customer said.

“FNB is no longer asking permission to use location services, it is demanding it or else you cannot pay anyone from the app,” he added.

Responding to a query from MyBroadband, FNB Head of Digital Banking Giuseppe Virgillito said the location requirement was implemented as an additional security layer when performing certain transactions.

Virgillito noted that fraud in the digital space was constantly evolving, and because of this, the bank needed to evolve its security to protect customers as well.

“Customers are faced with a number of threats including vishing and theft of their devices,” Virgillito said.

He acknowledged the location request may appear intrusive, but claimed it is a valuable tool for the bank in combatting fraud as it provides FNB with “contextual information to assist with fraud detection”.

Location access limited

The location access requirement has been added to both the bank’s Android and iOS banking apps.

Virgillito noted, however, that it does not compel app users to have their location switched on at all times, but will only prompt them to do so to complete specific transactions.

He did not specify exactly which types of transactions requires this, and noted this could change at any time depending on the fraud modus operandi and FNB’s security models.

Virgillito emphasised that FNB does not share any of the location data with third parties.

Now read: Why you can no longer spend eBucks at Makro

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Why the FNB app needs your location data for payments