First there was the FNB banking app, then the option for FNB clients to buy phones, tablets and laptops directly from the bank and pay them back over a two-year period, followed by the sale of FNB Connect SIM cards. The bank has now announced its own smartphones running Android, the ConeXis X1 and A1 made by ZTE. And it also has a new R399 / month unlimited calling option on its mobile network.
FNB has been promoting mobile banking for years, and it’s no wonder. Good apps mean customers don’t have to go to branches or – God forbid – deal face to face with bank employees. And that means FNB can spend less on those employees and the branches they work in.
Jan Kleynhans, consumer manager at FNB, said 380 branches in South Africa would be ready to start distributing the new devices from this week. “Customers can walk in and out of a branch with a working phone,” he explains. No problem with FADN or SIM activations, as FNB already has all the necessary documents if you are banking with it.
Meet the competitors
The phones come with an FNB SIM card and are SIM-locked to the FNB network, and Kleynhans says porting can take place at a branch. In other words, it’s FNB’s hyper-aggressive game to get its clients to seriously consider using its telecommunications offering.
As you might expect, eBucks customers get discounts based on their reward level, and eBucks recoups their airtime and data top-up expenses. Mobile banking is zero-rated and you can purchase airtime without airtime using the banking app, online banking, mobile banking, or at an FNB ATM.
What’s cooking, handsome?
The ConeXis X1 weighs 133g, supports LTE, features a 5.2-inch display, 8GB of storage (and a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 128GB), rear camera 8 MP and a 5 MP front camera, a 2540 mAh battery, 1 GB of RAM and a 1.3 GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor. The phone runs Android Marshmallow.
For added points, FNB included a 16GB microSD card, screen protector, protective back cover, and a set of in-ear headphones.
The ConeXis A1, meanwhile, is the more entry-level of the pair. It includes a 4 inch screen, supports 3G, has a 5 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front camera, includes an FM radio, 8 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM, as well as a 1400 battery. mAh. Mistry says this device is aimed at the lower end of the market, who may not have access to a car or desktop charger, and as such the A1 comes with a power bank of 2600 mAh FNB brand.
Pretty, uh, package
Both devices are available on 24-month contracts, and Mistry says there is no credit check for existing ETF clients. The X1 package costs R150 / month while that of the A1 costs R59 / month.
With the X1, this R150 / month gives you the handset, 100MB of data and 25 minutes of calling each month. In the case of the A1, you get 50MB of data and 15 minutes of calls. So the devil is in the refills… but let’s not forget these eBucks carrots.
However, since this is “not a credit-based product,” according to Kleynhans, customers are required to post a deposit for the devices. The deposit bears interest and is returned at the end of the 24-month contract. For the X1, the deposit is R1 500, for the low end A1 it is R500. There are no plans to offer the devices for outright purchase.
“We try to promote overall healthy banking behavior,” says Mistry. Adding that the educational videos included on the device teach users what they can do on their banking app, how to keep service charges low, and of course how to maximize their eBucks.
Both devices are guaranteed for 12 months. “If you have a problem within seven days, you can go to a branch and exchange it,” says Mistry. “As part of the warranty, we will collect and replace. »If you are responsible for the damage, you can have your device repaired at one of the iFix points of sale.
Me and you and keep it right
FNB is also battling other mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) with an aggressive new SIM package. For R399 / month, consumers can get unlimited calls to any network and 100MB of data – meaning you’ll have to top up, but FNB is working hard to remind potential users that they’ll get a discount. on their data based on their eBucks Reward Level.
You will need to have an FNB Gold account or better to be eligible for the R399 / month plan. FNB says there is a fair use policy of 2,000 minutes per month, but clients are not automatically cut off if that limit is reached and exceeded, but cases will be reviewed on an individual basis.
FNB is the first bank on the continent to have its own terminal. Well, the color impressed us. It’s a shade of turquoise, right?