Standard Bank backs digital money on MXit

Source: MXit

Buying MXit Moola and mobile airtime has just become easier for MXit users with the announcement yesterday that the mobile social network giant has signed a deal with Standard Bank's Beyond Payments payment solution, 'MiMoney'.

MiMoney, powered by Standard Bank, is an electronic payment voucher that can be purchased through self-banking channels and various retailers. Research conducted by Standard Bank has shown that this initiative will save the South African consumer more than R5 billion per year in telecoms and banking fees.

"Our quest, since launching MXit in May 2005, has been to collaborate with strategic business players in various sectors, especially the banking sector, to ensure that we meet the needs of our target market", says founder and CEO of MXit, Herman Heunis

"With our experience in the mobile environment, our vast user base of over 12 million within SA and abroad, the relationships that we have developed with our banking partners, and a thorough understanding of what our users expect from their MXit community, the environment has been set for us to expand our reach into the mobile payments arena," continues Heunis.

MXit users will be able to purchase MXit Moola at a significantly reduced cost compared to the current premium-rated SMS mechanism once the system goes live in April 2009.

Says Heunis, "A large segment of our user base is entry-level and unbanked. They do not have bank accounts, but they do have mobile phones and with MiMoney they can purchase goods and services with their mobile phones without using hard cash. This is the beginning of seamless mobile banking solutions coupled with lifestyle integration. MXit will start hosting various shop fronts on the MXit platform which will enable users to purchase items such as airtime, music, MXit Moola and other".

"If you look at the prediction for internet access via the mobile phone for Africa and the Middle East, some analysts expect an increase of 400+% within five years. We see a major growth potential in Africa for MXit as a communication, educational and transactional tool.

MXit plans to expand the Beyond Payments offering into 26 countries, many of these on the African continent. The exp expansion into Africa is intended to grow the user base on the continent substantially and we invite mobile operators in the various Africa countries to collaborate with us in creating new revenue streams for all parties".

Heunis says that MXit is probably one of the first mobile social networks in the world that will allow the direct exchange of money for virtual currency. "We also see this platform as a solution for our commercial partners to monetize their services and products on MXit", he said.

How does MiMoney work:

When a MiMoney voucher is purchased through a self-banking channel, consumers will be asked to provide their cellphone numbers in the beneficiary reference field. Once that transaction has been completed, an 18-digit voucher number is delivered to the specified cellphone number. When a MiMoney voucher is bought from a 'real world' sales agent (Ster Kinekor was the first sales agent to sell vouchers since December 2008), the 18-digit voucher number is sent directly to the cellphone provided during the transaction. The voucher can then be used at any online retailer/ service (like MXit) that indicates acceptance of this payment method.

The MiMoney client saves on transaction fees as this cost is carried by the merchant.

MIMONEY vouchers are available in any denomination for amounts of up to R1000 and the monthly limit is R10 000.

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