FNB launches 'e-wallet' in Zambia

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First National Bank (FNB) has introduced its “e-wallet” service in Zambia, enabling FNB customers to transfer money to anybody's cellular phone.

Recipients of the money transfers do not need a bank account or auto teller machine card to withdraw the cash that an FNB customer has sent them.

Zambia, like other African countries, is experiencing an explosion of mobile money banking services, as banks and mobile providers compete for poor and rural populations, who may not be able to afford traditional bank accounts.

Telecoms players MTN and Airtel Zambia already offer mobile money services in that country.

FNB Zambia CEO Sarel van Zyl said, at the launch yesterday, that he hopes that “e-wallet” in Zambia will play its part in helping more people in that country access banking services.

“Over six million cellphone users in Zambia give availability to both the banked and 'unbanked', hence the need to offer an affordable, but yet convenient, solution to money transfer services,” Van Zyl said.

Zambia's minister of transport, works, supply and communications, Sechwayo Nzima, said FNB's service is a reflection of the great change taking place with banking services using ICTs in the country.

“The e-wallet is an innovation in the ICT sector that cuts across boundaries and will have an impact on the social economic development of the country and multiplier effect on the development of other sectors of the economy,” Nzima noted.

Zambia's Central Bank said last year it is in the process of formulating a legal framework to regulate the practice, as it believes mobile banking will help overcome the longstanding challenge of reaching out to the unbanked population of the country.

Michael Malakata
ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.

Michael Malakata is ITWeb’s correspondent from Lusaka, Zambia.

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