FNB reports soaring African m-banking uptake

FNB reports soaring African m-banking uptake

First National Bank (FNB) says it has seen an explosion in the number of customers throughout Africa using its mobile services over the last year.

The South Africa-based outfit says it subsidiaries have experienced massive take-up of m-banking services with year-on-year growth of 376% in Zambia, 277% in Botswana, 204% in Namibia and 473% in Swaziland.

Nearly two thirds of its customers in Botswana now use mobile banking, nearly half of those in Namibia and Zambia and 11% in Swaziland.

Together, the four countries perform in the region of 1.2 million m-banking transactions per month, worth approximately R122 million and have processed more than R1.2 billion in the last year. FNB is looking to roll out the service to new market, adding Lesotho in May.

In November the bank also launched its eWallet remittance service in Botswana and to date has recorded over 89,000 transactions amounting to R31 million within the country's borders.

Danny Zandamela, CEO, FNB Africa, says: "Mobile money services offer an inexpensive and convenient method to bridge the gap between the banked and unbanked. The African continent, by pure virtue of being one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world, is the ideal environment for such innovation and it is with this that we coupled Cellphone Banking and eWallet services into our African expansion portfolio."

Mobile money has proved very successful in many African countries, where there are large numbers of unbanked people and limited branch networks and Internet access. Earlier this month, Visa moved to take advantage of the potentially huge market through the $110 million acquisition of Fundamo, a South African specialist in mobile money tech for banks and wireless operators in developing economies.

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