dotFNB debuts smart storefront

Money Transfer

Using Microsoft's Kinect technology, dotFNB’s new smart storefront allows consumers to apply for accounts with the wave of the hand.

Using Microsoft's Kinect technology, dotFNB’s new smart storefront allows consumers to apply for accounts with the wave of the hand.
First National Bank (FNB) showcased an interactive storefront interface at its Canal Walk dotFNB branch, in Cape Town, yesterday.

Using Microsoft's Kinect motion sensor software, existing FNB customers and non-customers can browse through various account and device bundle offerings via a gesture-controlled platform in the store's front window.

According to Kim Gibson-Van der Walt, head of dotFNB, this solution means people can select their desired account and an accompanying device, without having to enter an FNB branch, adding that customers can use this platform to apply for an account 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Once the user has selected their favoured account and smart device bundle, they need to SMS a unique code to the bank and a consultant will call them within 24 hours to finalise their application and activate the account.

"We are the first bank in SA and Africa to make use of this technology," said Gibson-Van der Walt at the event. "It offers our clients a digital catalogue where they can browse our products and select what they want. It is even simpler and faster than applying for an account online."

She noted the bank has seen a 20% conversion rate just from walking traffic moving past the store window.

The cashless dotFNB branch is one of nine around the country, which Gibson-Van der Walt stressed are not intended to replace traditional branches, but are targeted at tech-savvy FNB customers. The dotFNB branches are test beds for the bank to trial new technologies, she added.

In the dotFNB branch, customers can use the Rewards Calculator touchscreen interface to track their savings or improve their returns on services like eBucks.

In addition, customers looking to chat to a FNB consultant about a specific concern – home loans or business banking, for example – can visit a video conferencing booth where they can chat to an FNB staff member with know-how about that specific topic. "Video banking is on the rise," said Gibson-Van der Walt. "Using video conferencing, customers can chat to a person who can give them sound advice, which means they don't have to phone a call centre or visit a different branch to get the information they need.

"DotFNB branches help customers with cellphone banking, app banking and online banking. We have broken some very traditional banking rules with dotFNB in the sense that we no longer sit behind a counter with the customer separated from us. We want to teach our customers to use the platforms available to them and help them to understand what they can do with the FNB app and with the different technology offerings that are available from FNB.

"People are migrating to technology more and more, and we see this model as a model of the future. This is the new face of banking. We see it as a new, modern take on banking as a whole."