23 January 2012
First National Bank has partnered with retailer Pep to make the bank’s eWallet money transfer solution available at Pep stores across South Africa, allowing customers to use their mobile phones to shop and do their banking even if they don’t have a bank account.
FNB chief executive Michael Jordaan said the partnership was a milestone for the bank in its efforts to use innovation and technology to make banking services more widely available.
“With this partnership we are further extending banking services to all South Africans, with our without a bank account,” he said in a statement this week. “This will enable them to send and receive money instantly; a simple yet safe solution in providing access to financial services.”
According to Jordaan, the partnership will enable the bank to extend eWallet services to some 1 200 outlets across the country.
While the eWallet solution was previously available only to FNB customers, anyone with a bar-coded South African ID can now deposit, withdraw and send money, as well as make payments and purchase goods at any PEP store in the country – all this accessed via their cellphones.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve on our service and delivery channels,” said FNB eWallet Solutions CEO Yolande van Wyk. “We have seen the importance of innovation and breaking from the norm to differentiate ourselves from our peers.”
Since its launch in 2009, more than 700,000 eWallets have been created, at a monthly average of 50 000 new eWallets. Over R1-billion was transferred via the service as of October 2011.
Several of the bank’s corporate clients are also using the eWallet service to pay their employees’ salaries.
Increase in cellphone banking
An increasing number of consumers are taking to banking via cellphone, which allows them to make third-party payments and even buy airtime and prepaid electricity.
FNB’s Cellphone Banking channel processed in excess of 25-million transactions in December 2011 with a transaction value of over R2.7-billion, compared to R1.7-billion seen in December 2010.
The bank has 3.5-million cellphone banking customers, more than 70% of whom fall between the ages of 18 and 40, and earn less than R100 000 per annum.
“The channel allows you the freedom and ability to bank anywhere, at any time. Anyone on any network with any cellphone can use it,” said FNB Cellphone Banking Solutions chief executive Ravesh Ramlakan. “There are no complicated downloads or special SIM requirements, and registration is free.”
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