CELLPHONE Banking has proved to be an ideal channel to access cash in Africa as South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) witnesses growth in its subsidiaries in Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland. FNB launched its Cellphone Banking in South Africa in 2005, Botswana in 2006, Namibia in 2007, Zambia in 2009, Swazil and last year and this year in Lesotho. FNB Cellphone Banking service offers customers more than just banking services as customers can buy prepaid airtime, prepaid electricity, play Lotto and pay their traffic fines. Another innovative service is eWallet that enables FNB customers to send money to or pay anyone with a South African cellphone number. Since the launch in 2009, eWallet has seen a rapid growth with more than 500,000 eWallets created and on average R2 million being sent daily using this service.

According to a statement issued by FNB Africa chief executive officer Danny Zandamela, the bank has recorded year-on-year growth of 376 percent in Zambia, 277 percent in Botswana, 204 percent in Namibia and 473 percent in Swaziland. In markets other than South Africa, FNB recorded the highest number of cellphone banking users in Botswana with 65 percent of customers, followed by Namibia and Zambia at 47 percent and Swaziland with 11 percent. Mr Zandamela said mobile money service offers an inexpensive and convenient method to bridge the gap between the banked and unbanked. He said Africa, by virtue of being one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world, is the ideal environment for innovation. He said the success of eWallet in Botswana has resulted in plans to roll out the solution in other African subsidiaries in the near future.

The statement further adds that the bank has witnessed rapid growth in the remittance since launching eWallet outside of South Africa.
In November 2010 the bank launched eWallet in Botswana and to date has recorded over 89,000 transactions amounting to R31 million (K21.7 billion) within the country’s borders.
Category : Business and tagged banking, banking solutions, botswana, cellular telephone, Lesotho, mobile banking, namibia, South Africa, Swaziland.

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