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Is this the most powerful business smartphone you can buy?

Samsung Galaxy Note 10
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. Image supplied by Samsung

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 is now available in South Africa, a device the South Korean tech titan describes as the most powerful business smartphone yet.

Available for the first time in two size options – a 6.8-inch Note10+, the biggest screen on a Note yet, and a more pocket friendly, but slightly less feature rich 6.3-inch Note10 – both still feature the Note line’s trademark S Pen stylus, now boasting more functionality than ever before.

Both models feature an edge-to-edge nearly bezel-less AMOLED display interrupted only by the small, centrally placed cut out for the front camera, making for a more balanced design than those on the S10 line which are on the left.

Important on a device which power users may be looking into for hours each day, the Eye Comfort display reduces blue light without affecting colour quality for comfortable viewing.

Note users typically put a premium on productivity and the two new models feature some impressive new features in this respect.

With Handwriting to Text, Note 10 owners can use the re-designed, unibody S Pen to jot down notes, instantly convert their handwriting to digital text in Samsung Notes, and export it to a variety of different formats, including Microsoft Word.

Users can now also customise notes by shrinking, enlarging, or changing the colour of the text. In just a few taps, meeting minutes can be formatted and shared; bursts of inspiration can quickly become editable documents.

The Galaxy Note 10 builds on the Bluetooth Low Energy-enabled S Pen capabilities introduced on the Note 9 by adding air actions, allowing users to control certain aspects of the device using gestures with the S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ with stylus
Both the 6.8-inch Note10+ and the 6.3-inch Note 10 feature the Note line’s trademark S Pen stylus. Image supplied by Samsung

Better DeX-terity

Samsung’s DeX line of devices have in the past allowed users to create a desktop PC-like experience by connecting their Galaxy smartphones to a monitor or TV screen. The Note 10 extends Samsung DeX’s capabilities, now making it easier for users to work between their phone and a PC or Mac.

The latest iteration of DeX dispenses with the puck and pad devices of the past. Now, with a simple, compatible USB connection, users can drag and drop files between devices, and use their favourite mobile apps with a mouse and a keyboard, while keeping their data secure on their phone through Samsung Knox.

The Galaxy Note 10 integrates Link to Windows directly into the Quick Panel. With one click, users can connect to their Windows 10 PC. There, they can see notifications, send and receive messages, and review recent photos without pausing to look down at their phone.

Other power features are Super-Fast Charging, which Samsung claims will get you through a full-day’s use on just 30 minutes of charge using the Note10+ and Wireless PowerShare which lets users wirelessly recharge their Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Buds, or another Qi-enabled device with the either of the Note 10 models.

The Galaxy Note10 and Galaxy Note10+ are available in Aura Glow, Aura White and Aura Black. – GeekWire.co.za

Now you can own shares in Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Tesla & Netflix for as little as R10

First National Bank (FNB) has announced that individual consumers and institutional investors in South Africa will now have an opportunity to own shares from as little as R10 in some of the world’s best performing companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Tesla, Coca Cola and Alphabet which owns Google.

The announcement follows the listing on the JSE of 10 FNB Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs) which are exchange-traded instruments that provide investors access to a wide variety of wealth creation assets. The listing provides individual and institutional investors an opportunity to diversify portfolios to manage risk. Investors will be able to gain access to the shares through FNB’s share trading platform via FNB Online or the FNB App.

Jacques Celliers, FNB CEO said, “We are excited to scale our invest activities by providing our customers and investors at large an opportunity to broaden exposure to wealth creation assets. Through FNB’s platform, customers have the opportunity to access both local and global shares which will allow them to diversify their portfolios during a very challenging time.”

FNB Wealth and Investments and Ashburton CEO, Sizwe Nxedlana, said global fractional shares provide for an innovative product, designed specifically with financial inclusion in mind.

“Our aim is to drastically minimise barriers to entry for individual customers and institutional investors. Over the years, we have invested heavily to building platform capabilities in our investment business and this is starting to manifest in solutions which are customer-centric, and valuable for customers across all income categories.

“In a time of global uncertainty, investors cannot overlook opportunities to diversify but more importantly this particular offering means that every single individual or institution in South Africa has an equal opportunity to own shares beyond our borders,” Nxedlana said.

The 10 Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs) from FNB were listed on the JSE on 1 October 2020.

Digital payments surge as consumers, retailers accelerate adoption

FNB digital payments
FNB says Scan-to-Pay and Tap-to-Pay functionality on its app recorded the highest month-on-month usage growth in August 2020. Image supplied

The accelerating rate at which retail merchants are enabling consumers to pay digitally at point of sale is fueling the growth of digital payments in South Africa.

This is according to FNB, which revealed that its Scan-to-Pay and Tap-to-Pay functionality on the FNB App recorded the highest month-on-month usage growth in August 2020 since launch. 

The bank said that month-on-month transaction volumes on Scan-to-Pay grew by 36% in August while values increased by 39%. Similarly, month-on-month usage of Tap-to-Pay functionality increased by 48% with values growing by 54%. Scan-to-Pay enables users to scan a QR Code to make secure payments at a physical point of sale or on an online merchant website using the FNB App.

Tap-to-Pay allows users to pay for goods by simply tapping their smart phone to pay at a point of sale while relying on the security of the FNB App.

Raj Makanjee, Chief Executive of FNB Retail and Private Banking, said the insights were consistent with the 28% increase in FNB App usage volumes that was reported for the previous financial year. This was also in line with customer behaviour shifting towards contactless in general, as customers realise the convenience and security benefits with contactless card transactions at Point of Sale (POS) growing month-on-month at 16.4%.

“Digital payments have received a significant boost over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as more consumers and retailers are embracing the need for safety and efficiency. Digital payment methods are equally important for consumers because people can be less reliant on cash and cards by choosing to pay using their cellphone. In our case, this affords our customers the added safety of using a trusted and secure platform of our FNB App,” Makanjee said.

Jason Viljoen, Head of FNB Digital Payments said while there were efficiencies in paying digitally and a number of options to choose from, consumers needed to be very cautious of using third-party online payment platforms which requires them to provide their online banking username and password login credentials to pay via instant EFT. 

“These highly sensitive and confidential credentials should only be used on the bank’s app or online banking webpage, as any compromise could result in a life changing fraud event. We always recommend that our customers use secure online payment methods, such as Scan-to-Pay via the FNB App or by paying with their bank card, to ensure their financial security.”

Viljoen said one of the core security and convenience benefits of using Scan-to-Pay for online shopping is that one doesn’t need to capture any details to make payments. Customers simply select the relevant QR code payment option on the website and scan the presented QR code. Scan-to-Pay via the FNB App works seamlessly with most payment QR code options, including Masterpass and Payfast. – GeekWire.co.za

Why most bosses plan to extend remote working after the pandemic

Dell UltraSharp USB-C Hub Monitor U2421E
A new survey has found that remote workers are missing out on advantages of a secondary monitor. Picture supplied by Dell Technologies

A NEW survey has revealed that remote work is likely to become the norm, with many organiations rethinking their workplace policies

The survey, conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Dell Technologies aimed to gauge the impact of  COVID-19 on the employee experience, as well as, how organisations are supporting and enabling their employees with the right technology and tools to work productively from home.

Two-thirds (67%) of decision makers said their organisations are extending remote working arrangements for some employees even after the pandemic, while 57% said they are introducing more flexible work-from-home policies for all of their employees. However, many agree that the right equipment is key to the success of these policies and efficiency.

The survey which polled 305 knowledge workers and 155 technology decision makers explored how they have managed the changes and challenges in their transition to working from home, capturing the changing mindsets and challenges faced by both organisations and employees.

It found that apart from the change in physical location, employees are grappling with changes in ways of working, modes of communication, and the workstation equipment.

As many as 37% of workers reported a downgrade in the specifications of the monitors they are using at home. Cumulatively, these changes are distracting employees from their work, with up to a third saying that they are less productive working from home. However, despite the challenges, many employees are still not ready to return to the office, with a third citing health and safety as a reason, and almost half saying that they would like to continue working from home post-pandemic.

One of the biggest trends that emerged from the survey was that employees didn’t have the right kind of monitors at home. Up to 37% also reported a downgrade in the specifications of the monitors they use, such as moving from a larger monitor to a smaller one or laptop screen, which has had a major impact on their productivity.

Key findings also showed that as many as 38% of knowledge workers have switched from their usual computing devices while working from home — e.g., from a desktop PC to a laptop — thus creating further cognitive drain as they get used to a new device.

Monitors and multitasking

The survey also noted that employees are missing out on several advantages of having a secondary or external monitor. As many of them are spending more time on video calls, an external monitor can help them multitask and collaborate easily, with employees reporting being able to view more information simultaneously (50%), use multiple programs simultaneously without having to switch windows (46%), and complete tasks quickly (35%) and more accurately (30%).

“Employers today have the power to transform the challenges of the past few months to opportunities of growth of paramount importance,” said Haidi Nossair, Senior Director, Client Solutions Group – Middle East, Russia, Africa and Turkey at Dell Technologies.

“Rolling out a robust work from home environment will require employers to invest not only in the right devices but in the full ecosystem, starting from the right monitor and peripherals, which will increase the productivity and create a seamless remote work experience hence secure employees’ satisfaction.

“The remote workforce is here to stay, it is now up to organisations to shift their approach in response to the pandemic from ‘do it light’ to ‘do it right’ with an end to end lifecycle management strategy to foster innovation, retain and attract talents while optimizing Total Cost of Ownership,” Nossair said. – GeekWire.co.za

Pocket productivity powerhouse unpacked

Samsung Galaxy Note 20
Samsung's new Galaxy Note 20 will be available in South Africa from 21 August 2020. Picture supplied by Samsung

Powerful new stylus features, an upgraded camera and beefed up Microsoft Office integration make Samsung’s newly launched Galaxy Note 20 a strong contender for best business smartphone of 2020.

The South Korea-based tech giant unveiled its productivity-focused powerhouse at its recent Unpacked virtual launch event, along with the second generation of its Z Fold folding device and new smartwatches, earbuds, and a tablet.

The Galaxy Note 20 line, the successor to last year’s Note 10, comprises three variants, the standard Samsung Note 20, the Note 20 5G and the Note 20 Ultra.

All three devices are powered by a Samsung’s Exynos 990 processor and come with a triple-lens rear camera, with the Ultra boasting a higher resolution, bigger display (6,9 inches vs 6,7 inches), additional main camera features, and 12GB of RAM compared to 8GB on the standard edition.

The trademark S-Pen Bluetooth connected stylus has been improved promising four-times lower latency than that on the Note 10, which should make for snappier, lag-free note taking, sketching and other applications.

All three models include an in-screen fingerprint sensor and IP68 water and dust resistance.

The standard Note 20 and its 5G equivalent have a triple-camera system comprising a 64MP primary camera sensor and two 12MP lenses, while the Ultra boasts a significantly more powerful 108MP primary camera capable of shooting 8K video at 24 frames-per-second.

For video conferences and selfies, all three phones have 10MP front-facing cameras with dual-pixel auto focus and an 80-degree field of view.

Office in your pocket

Samsung also announced plans for more integration between Note 20 devices and Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Office apps, building on the existing partnership between the two tech heavyweights.

Owners of certain Samsung smartphones can already use Microsoft’s Your Phone app to access phone messages, notifications, photos and calls from their Windows 10 PCs, as well as control phone apps from their PCs. Note 20 devices will get this ability and, later this year, will be able to run several mobile apps side-by-side on their PCs.

Samsung also announced improvements to its DeX technology for connecting remotely to compatible devices.

Both models of the Galaxy Note 20 (standard and 5G) will be available in South Africa from 21 August 2020 in three colours – Grey, Green, and Mystic Bronze – while the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra will be available in Mystic Bronze, Black, and White. Pre-orders are open now, with Samsung offering a R4000 voucher to encourage early birds.

Contracts start at R899 per month for the standard Note 20, R999 for the Note 20 5G and R1,299 for the Note 20 Ultra 5G. Prepaid prices are R24,999, R27,999 and R36,999 respectively. – GeekWire.co.za

Sars digitisation drive, COVID-19 impact among hot topics at Deloitte budget dialogue

Mark Freer, Director Deloitte Africa Tax and Legal
Mark Freer, Director Deloitte Africa Tax and Legal. Picture by Alan Cooper

Relief at government’s decision not to hike taxes, tempered by the daunting challenge of keeping state-owned enterprises like SAA and Eskom afloat, as well as the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak were key themes to emerge from a post-Budget breakfast dialogue hosted by Deloitte KwaZulu-Natal on 3 March 2020.

Guests attending the annual event, held at the professional services firm’s La Lucia Ridge offices, also heard how digitisation efforts by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) could pave the way for a time when tax information was collected and the amounts owed calculated automatically with no need for annual returns.

Deloitte KZN Office Managing Partner Ruwayda Redfearn set the scene by referring to a potted aloe featured prominently on the stage, emulating Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s example when opening his Budget speech.

“The aloe thrives when times are tough. It needs less water, qualities we’ll all need in the months ahead,” she said.

Mark Freer, Director Deloitte Africa Tax and Legal, unpacked the key taxation elements of the Budget. “There was a huge collective sigh of relief that the widely predicted tax increases failed to materialise, but there are still some major concerns. While attempts are being made to strengthen Sars, the R63bn collection deficit is worse than that predicted in the Mid-term Budget Statement and tax revenue growth is barely keeping pace with inflation,” he said.

On the positive side, Freer said he was impressed with Sars’ digitisation efforts, and that a smartphone app and chatbot tied into its eFiling system, along with efforts by the revenue authority to populate returns with more third party data, could pave the way to a day when “tax just happens” automatically without the need for annual returns. 

Commenting on the Coronavirus outbreak, Isaac Matshego, a Group Economist at Nedbank, said it was too early to predict its impact on the South African economy, but that these would almost certainly be significant. “As China is our chief trading partner, the virus will certainly have negative effects on supply chains, minerals exporters and miners,” he said.

Political analyst Judith February said the Finance Minister’s ability to achieve tough goals like cutting the public sector wage bill by R160bn and bringing alternative power sources online would prove key tests of his and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ability to stand up to regressive elements within their own party. On the challenge to provide a stable power supply, February singled out Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, who is also the ANC’s national Chairperson.

Political analyst Judith February. Picture by Alan Cooper

Stumbling block

“In both these respects, Mr Mantashe could be a major stumbling block. He is seemingly addicted to coal and complicating a move to a more sustainable energy mix is that Mantashe is a union man through-and-through. We’re in for an interesting power struggle over the coming months,” she said.

Sisa Ntlango,Director of Deloitte’s Risk Advisory Business then chaired a panel discussion, with speakers answering questions from the floor on matters ranging from the ‘Sugar Tax’ and the phasing out of tax incentives to the impact on the economy of illegal immigration and the billions looted from state coffers.

Commenting on the impact of the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, Freer said that when conceived it was intended to target makers of sugary beverages.“As it turns out, the beverage makers have been less affected that initially thought due to reformulation and reduction in pack sizes. The biggest impact appears to be on the sugar millers and growers,” he said, adding that the tax netted a relatively small R2bn to R3bn annually.

Answering a question regarding government’s intention to restrict the tax incentives for the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Freer said, “Fortunately, both KwaZulu-Natal’s SEZs – Dube TradePort and Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone – have already been approved, so won’t be affected by the moratorium”.

In her closing remarks, February also alluded to the aloe. “The key to its survival in harsh times is that it’s an unsentimental plant and ruthlessly sheds dead weight. The million-dollar question is whether our government can emulate the humble aloe’s example and shed the dead weight required to turn our economy around,” she said.

The event was held before the release of data indicating that the SA economy entered a technical recession in the second half of 2019.

SMEs take Note

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
Samsung's new Galaxy Note 10 Lite could be a boon for small business owners. Picture supplied by Samsung.

Lite version of top business phone lands in SA

There’s good news for South African small business owners looking for the power of one of the world’s most popular business focussed phone, but at a lower price.
Samsung is bringing the new Galaxy Note10 Lite to the country. It made the announcement at a media event in Sandton Johannesburg recently.
Building on the legacy of the Galaxy Note series, the Lite model brings key premium features such as the latest camera technology, signature S Pen, immersive display and a long-lasting battery at an accessible price point.
The Galaxy Note10 Lite was due to start rolling out with all major cellular networks in February. Samsung has positioned the it strategically between the Galaxy A Series and its flagship devices, with a recommended retail price of R12,999 and monthly contracts starting at R599.
“The Galaxy Note devices have met consumer demands around the world and has proven to be popular in South Africa. These devices represent our continuous effort to deliver industry leading innovations, from performance and power to intelligence and services,” said Justin Hume, Director: Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa.
“The Galaxy Note10 Lite will introduce those distinct key premium features that make up a Galaxy Note experience at an affordable and unrivalled value.”

Stylus smarts

Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) support means users can navigate a presentation, control video content or take a picture, all with a simple click of the S Pen stylus.
“The Samsung Notes app makes note taking faster and easier when on the go. And now, you can turn those handwritten notes into text for easy editing and sharing.”
The Note10 Lite boasts a 6.7-inch edge-to-edge Infinity-O display and a 4,500mAh battery with “super-fast charging capabilities”. It also comes with Samsung’s ecosystem of apps and services, including Bixby, Samsung Pay, Samsung Health and security platform Samsung Knox.

The budget-friendly Samsung Galaxy A51 will also be available from February 2020. Picture supplied by Samsung.

A-OK

At the same event, Samsung South Africa also unveiled the Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51, the latest additions to its wildly popular Galaxy A Series, with Hume revealing that the South Korea headquartered company had sold a staggering four million A-series devices to South African customers to date.
“We are committed to bridging the gap between flagship features and affordability. I believe the Galaxy A Series offers the best value in its segment. Additionally, the power of the Note10 Lite and its famous S Pen is now accessible to more people in South Africa,” said Hume.
The Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51, will also be released in the country from February. Both devices include flagship features at an affordable price.
“We are proud to connect with a new generation of consumers from the value-seekers to the power users. We will continue to listen to the needs of the local market and bring innovation that empowers all,” said Chief Marketing Officer Cambridge Mokanyane.
Head of Content and Services Kagiso Khaole highlighted the role of Samsung’s integrated ecosystem and the additional value it adds. “This includes the safety and convenience of Samsung Pay, which has generated more than 1,4 million transactions since 2018 as well as the peace of mind that Samsung Care+ offers Galaxy A-series customers.” – GeekWire.co.za

2020: The tide is turning for South Africa

Doug Woolley, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa
Doug Woolley, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa. Picture supplied by the company.

Thanks to seeds sown last year, 2020 will be a positive turning point for the country, writes Doug Woolley, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa

What does it take to complete a marathon? You definitely have to get up and compete on the day. But that’s not what decides the outcome. It resulted from getting up every morning to train. It required reprioritising lives to prepare for the marathon. It was eating right and maintaining focus on the goal. It relied on support, both within and from friends and family.

We tend to look at people who do great things and tell ourselves they are talented. Yes, they are, but so are we all. The difference isn’t natural ability but the will to keep going even when it was really hard to do so. This difficulty is why nobody just decides to spontaneously run a marathon today. Success comes from many small steps.

When asked about South Africa’s future, I base my opinion on this philosophy. Don’t just look at where we want to be – look at what we’re doing right now. I believe 2019 has been significant in that respect and is setting the stage for 2020 to go even further.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment drive secured R363 billion in 2019, 17% more than from 2018 and a total of R663 billion since he took office in October 2018. These are commitments from both local and foreign investors.

In November, the state launched BizPortal, an online and integrated portal for inexpensive and quick business registrations. This service is not a small development: the complicated process of registering a business in South Africa has long been an issue and barrier to economic growth. This administration turned that around in a year.

Smart city

The high-tech Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone broke ground in November. This enormous smart city development will massively increase our automotive industry’s revenue and employment. The President’s 4IR commission has already delivered its first report, and there is credible momentum behind assigning much-needed spectrum for digital connectivity.

We do have significant challenges as well. It’s effortless to see where South Africa falls short. We could point to slowing GDP growth or expanding unemployment. Problems are easier to spot than solutions. But there are solutions on the ground, and they are part of a greater positive trend.

There have been big changes in attitudes and actions towards SA’s problems. I won’t sugar coat our reality. But, just as someone preparing for a long marathon, the signs of progress don’t only count in the final event. They are significant because of the hard work, focus and determination that went in beforehand.

Let’s not forget the Springboks are rugby world champions, again, and the only team to have held the trophy three times. The Springboks prove the value of resilience and playing the long game.

Dell Technologies signed up as sponsors just after their disastrous loss to the All Blacks. Back then, the team committed to winning the Rugby World Cup. They have talent, yes, but they got there with focus, dedication and continual improvement. That final match wasn’t easy, yet the Springboks crushed the English team by being focused and cohesive. Many small steps create such habits.

South Africa is delivering its own small steps. There is more decisive action and visible movement. We are a strong country that has been to the brink many times and taken blows that would have sunk other nations. Yet we still stand and, in 2020, I believe South Africa will become even stronger. – GeekWire.co.za

The sky’s no limit for 3D printing tech

British Airways 3D printing
British Airways is tapping into the power and flexibility of 3D printing. Image supplied by BA.

British Airways is exploring the possibility of using 3D printers to create aircraft parts. These printers would be located at airports around the world to reduce delays for customers and emissions caused by transporting items.

The airline’s innovators predict that non-essential cabin parts will be first on the list to be generated, including pieces of tray tables, entertainment systems and toilets.

While these components do not impact the safe operation of the flight, they can reduce the number of seats or toilets available for customers and cause delays as engineers wait for the parts to be flown to wherever the aircraft is.

Ricardo Vidal, Head of Innovation at British Airways, said this area of technology had never been more important to ensure sustainability and a seamless travel experience.

“We work with start-ups and innovation partners from around the world to explore and implement the very latest technologies, from artificial intelligence to speed up turnaround times to biometrics, helping us to deliver a seamless airport experience for customers. 3D printing is yet another advancement that will keep us at the forefront of airline innovation.”

He said 3D printing was an essential step towards the sustainable future of aviation, as the printers can produce parts that, while as strong and durable as traditional components, weigh up to 55 per cent less. Every kilogram removed saves up to 25 tons of CO2 emissions during the lifespan of an aircraft.

British Airways’ exploration of 3D printing follows the airline’s BA2119: Flight of the Future programme in celebration of its centenary. Its research into the future of the customer experience suggested that within the next decade, biological scanners gathering travellers’ physiological and nutritional needs could suggest food and drink to meet individual requirements and print these on board the aircraft.

In addition, the research predicts that jet lag could become be a thing of the past, with 3D printers producing personalised health supplements. – Geekwire.co.za

Appy days for SA SMEs

Fundaba is an app-based entrepreneurship learning programme. Image supplied by FNB

FNB launches app-based entrepreneurship education programme and fee-free business account

In what it describes as a response to the barriers faced by micro, small and medium-sized businesses in South Africa, FNB has launched Fundaba, a digital app-based entrepreneurship learning programme and First Business Zero,

a digital no monthly account fee business bank account.

Fundaba is free interactive e-learning business education platform that has been developed inside the FNB banking app. Jesse Weinberg, head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB, described it a “first-of-its-kind offering in South Africa”. It comprises multimedia content such as videos, podcasts, quizzes, templates and tools for all FNB customers to learn about entrepreneurship and running a business.

He said the Bank had conducted extensive research and worked with hundreds of local business owners and mentors to provide users with critical knowledge and practical help to assist them as they navigate the business journey; from incubating a business idea, to starting, running and growing a business in South Africa.

The app also allows SMEs to actively share and provide feedback on various educational chapters to constantly increase the effectiveness and relevance of the content.

The name Fundaba is a combination of the South African words “Fundi” (colloquially means “expert”) and “Indaba” (discussion).

“As a leading business bank in South Africa, a core part of our strategy is to help develop SMEs by supporting entrepreneurs through their journey, and a key part of this journey is entrepreneurship knowledge and skills which we believe can help on a large-scale using our digital infrastructure,” said Weinberg.

The Fundaba educational programme consists of 12 modules across four lifecycle stages of a business (incubate, start, run and grow) and follows a South African entrepreneur’s journey as he builds his first business – ‘Lebo’s Bakery’. All audio and video content isavailable in five local languages including, IsiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, English and Afrikaans.

“Through our research and first-hand engagements with SMEs, we discovered that there is a knowledge gap amongst many existing and aspiring entrepreneurs when it comes to starting, running and growing a business. We feel we have a role to play to help close this gap, and at the same time help catalyse a country-wide dialogue of increasing entrepreneurship skills and knowledge sharing,” Weinberg said.

Zero monthly fees

First Business Zero card
First Business Zero, is a digital no monthly account fee business bank account. Image supplied by FNB

The second innovation launched by the bank is First Business Zero, a digital on-platform business bank account offered by FNB from 1 November 2019. The offering is designed specifically for sole proprietor businesses with an annual turnover up to R5 million and can be opened on the FNB App within a few minutes using the bank’s “Selfie” process to identity and verify the user.

According to Mike Vacy-Lyle, FNB Business CEO, key features of the First Business Zero proposition include no monthly account fee, unlimited free POS card swipes, inter-operable QR code for accepting payments, linked saving pocket to ring-fence savings and earn interest, and an FNB Connect SIM card that includes free data, minutes and SMSs (up to 100mb data, 30 voice minutes, 30 SMSs).

Businesses will also get free access to FNB Business’ suite of free value-added services, including Instant Accounting software, Invoicing, Cash Flow and Payroll.

“FNB has invested billions of Rands in developing a business banking platform that offers holistic and integrated financial solutions to all types of businesses,” said Vacy-Lyle.

“To maintain our market leading position, it is essential that our business model continually evolves to provide relevant solutions for customers, from learning how to start, run and grow a business, to registering a company, opening a bank account, applying for credit and managing the businesses daily affairs.”

He added that during the past financial year to June 2019, FNB Business banked SME lending reached more than R40 billion on the back of simple, scored, digital lending, with a credit approval taking less than three minutes in many instances. The bank further extended over R8 billion to women-led businesses during the same period.

“Better use of data, understanding client context, easier credit applications through scoring and digitisation, as well as lower origination costs, have led to better, deeper credit underwriting and quicker turnaround times. This has made borrowing from FNB Business a much better experience with better pricing,” said Vacy-Lyle.

“Continued digitisation of the commercial banking experience, at scale, has resulted in improved efficiencies and a lower cost of banking. This benefit of scale will be passed on to the customer through more affordable banking solutions like these.” –GeekWire.co.za

How fintech is shaking up African banking

The onslaught of challenger banks in Africa will continue to disrupt the competitive landscape in the financial services sector and these banks are aggressive digital-first players looking to change the industry.
That’s according to Greg Dwyer, Treasury Subject Matter Expert at Andile Solutions, who added: “Not only are they changing the industry, but they are helping to transform the African continent through financial systems that serve everyone”.
He said Andile recently helped usher two significant fintech evolutions into the African market. “We identified real needs for a modern treasury system, one that embraces digital transformation, is quick on time-to-market with our local market knowledge and reduced total cost of ownership to name a few.
“These are some of the typical challenges faced by Africa’s challenger banks, a new breed of financial institutions that leverages technology and modernity to bring better and cheaper services to the continent’s customers.”
He said treasury projects in Africa have in the past been hobbled by poor implementations and legacy technology. “African banks have been treated like any other international bank, with little local context.
“Calypso has addressed this with their Bank-in-A-Box program, which has enabled Andile to reduce their implementation time and thereby significantly reduce implicit and explicit cost to new clients. Such treasury system projects are accomplished through Andile’s partnership with Calypso.”
Calypso is a leading global provider of cross-asset front-to-back technology solutions for financial markets, recently named Best Treasury Management System in the bobsguide Awards for 2019.
One of Andile’s success stories is the implementation of Calypso for Fidelity Bank, the leading market player in Ghana’s Fixed Income and Debt Capital Market. Another recent success is the implementation of Calypso for Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO). It was delivered in just five months as part of their digital transformation strategy.


Battle tested
By leveraging its partnership with Calypso, Andile has been able to provide African banks with a battle-tested target operating model to meet their treasury needs. This enables the challenger bank to proactively adapt to ever-changing market conditions whilst being able to manage the risk associated efficiently.
“Our partner program is extremely successful. It provides our clients with a more nurturing engagement required to implement our leading technology to banks in Africa. We have to remain relevant to African markets by providing world-class and appropriate African oriented solutions,” said Dennis Belford, MD for Africa, Calypso Technology.
Andries Brink, CEO of Andile Group, said these are signs of Andile’s commitment to maintain and grow Africa’s place as a major player in the global financial workplace. “Methodologies and innovation evolving from our African experience are now being deployed by Calypso globally, demonstrating that world-class solutions wherever deployed in the global marketplace including Africa are key markers for success.” – GeekWire.co.za