In a move to crack down on debit order fraud, First National Bank on Monday said it will introduce a new system whereby customers will be notified via SMS every time a new debit order is raised on their accounts.
Customers can dispute and reverse new debit orders by responding to the notification, the bank said. They are also able to view all existing debit orders as well as facilitate reversals electronically through online banking, the FNB app and cellphone banking.
SMS alerts will be sent no matter how small or large the debit order amount. If the customer believes the instruction is unauthorised, they can dispute and reverse it by replying to the message or logging one of the bank’s digital platforms.
“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 that customers will now have complete transparency and control of their accounts as any new debit order will trigger an alert,” said Ryan Prozesky, CEO of value banking solutions at FNB, in a statement.
Currently, banks are able to reverse debit orders immediately and refund the customers if the debit order is disputed within a 40-day period. However, if a debit order is disputed after 40 days, the bank is required to request a mandate from the service provider. This 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,” said Prozesky.
A proactive fraudulent debit order warning system will remain in place, alerting customers to suspicious debit orders that are currently running, FNB said.
FNB-generated debit orders will not generate an SMS as the bank can “internally confirm that the necessary mandates are in place”.
Stopping and reversing transactions through reply to proactive SMSes is free, although standard network rates apply.
“Customers should note that there will be a system-generated stop-payment fee, which is charged and then reversed,” it said.
Customers can stop a debit order on any FNB digital platform for R5, or do so in a branch for R50. The fee for telephone banking is R17,50. All reversals are free. — © 2016 NewsCentral Media