19 July 2012
South Africa’s First National Bank announced on Thursday that its mobile banking customers will now be able to do their banking through social networking site Facebook.
It is a first for South Africa, allowing the bank’s customers to link their Facebook profiles to their cellphone banking profiles.
Once linked, they can access the “FNB Banking on Facebook” application, which will allow them to check their balances, purchase prepaid products including airtime, SMS and BlackBerry bundles, as well as the option to view Lotto and PowerBall results.
“As a bank, we average around 15 000 conversations monthly, via social media, with existing and potential customers,” FNB cellphone banking CEO Ravesh Ramlakan said in a statement.
“There are currently more than 4.7-million active Facebook users in South Africa, and more than 150 000 of those are FNB Facebook fans. It is easier for our customers to purchase a data bundle or airtime while using Facebook.
“This is an opportunity for us to tap into a new and fresh market, introducing our diverse product offering to a different audience in a ‘cool’ way.”
Ramlakan said social media banking is the next frontier, serving as a channel to provide customers with more choice and convenience in doing their banking.
“The spirit of innovation is driven by the need to provide our customers with the best possible banking experience. For us to remain as leaders in the innovation race we need to rapidly adapt to the constant changes in our environment,” he said.
Early this year, FNB launched a solution which allows its customers to purchase vouchers using cellphone banking which can be posted on Facebook.
This enables FNB customers registered for cellphone banking to send gifts to their Facebook friends – the recipient of the FNB Voucher can then redeem it as prepaid airtime or convert it to cash by using the bank’s eWallet service.