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FNB allows debit order reversals via SMS

Read time 2min 30sec
FNB says the new system gives customers complete transparency and control of their accounts.
FNB says the new system gives customers complete transparency and control of their accounts.

First National Bank (FNB) customers can now dispute and reverse new debit orders by responding to SMS notifications.

"We have had until this time a proactive SMS system in place to notify customers if the bank suspects a debit order may be unauthorised. However, our new system means customers will now have complete transparency and control of their accounts as any new debit order will trigger an alert," says Ryan Prozesky, CEO of FNB value banking solutions.

FNB customers will now be notified via SMS every time a new debit order is raised on their accounts, regardless of amount, and if they believe it to be unauthorised, have the ability to dispute and reverse by replying to the message or logging onto one of FNB's digital platforms.

Currently, banks are able to reverse debit orders immediately and refund customers if the debit order is disputed within a 40-day period. However, if a debit order is disputed post-40 days, the bank is required to request a mandate from the service provider, which adds another 40 days before a reversal is possible.

"Not everyone checks their accounts on a regular basis, so by immediately informing customers that a debit order has taken place on their account as well as the amount and the service provider name, customers can quickly act if they perceive the transaction to be unauthorised," says Prozesky.

Along with the notification system, FNB has introduced functionality on its online and cellphone banking platforms and the FNB app that will allow customers to view which current debit orders are running off their account as well as the ability to stop, dispute and reverse any they believe are unauthorised.

FNB says its proactive fraudulent debit order warning system is still in place, which alerts customers to potential suspicious debit orders that are currently running.

"Unauthorised debit orders are a very unpleasant customer experience. The combination of proactive notification as well as the ability to now monitor all current debit orders on our electronic platforms will help to protect our customers and give them further control over their accounts," says Prozesky.

The bank says FNB-generated debit orders will, however, not generate an SMS "as we can internally confirm that the necessary mandates are in place".

Stop and reverse transactions through replies to SMSes are free, but standard network rates apply. All reversals are free but there is a system-generated stop payment fee which is charged and then reversed. The fee is R5 for online banking, the FNB app and cellphone banking, and costs R17.50 for telephone banking and R50 at a branch.

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