Nedbank's MobiMoney signs up 50K users

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The pilot demonstrates MobiMoney is succeeding in making banking accessible, says Nedbank.
The pilot demonstrates MobiMoney is succeeding in making banking accessible, says Nedbank.

More than 50 000 South Africans have signed up for Nedbank's mobile money service, MobiMoney, since it was introduced to the public eight weeks ago.

The mobile wallet service aims to bring affordable banking services to South Africans, according to Nedbank.

Targeted at all segments of the local population, MobiMoney is a wallet-based account opened through a USSD code. Using their phone number as a wallet number, the service allows users to freely conduct transactions such as deposits, withdrawals, purchases or remitting cash at any Nedbank ATM or retail stores.

The solution is being piloted in the Soweto, Tembisa, Mamelodi and Soshanguve areas, where 50 000 users have already conducted more than 185 600 transactions, worth a total of R59 million, notes Nedbank.

Nedbank says it has not been surprised by the quick uptake of MobiMoney, which it says represents a big step forward in its bank-for-all strategy, delivering on its purpose to apply financial expertise to the local market.

"We designed MobiMoney in response to South Africans' wish for an affordable and accessible banking account that meets everybody's needs," says Ciko Thomas, group managing executive, Nedbank Retail and Business Banking at Nedbank.

"The phenomenal take-up of the pilot shows that, with MobiMoney, Nedbank has made it possible for anyone to benefit from a solution that lets them transact wherever they are."

Almost 30% of the new MobiMoney clients who signed up for the cardless account were not yet clients of Nedbank. The main transactions conducted were money transfers, withdrawals and deposits, as well as airtime purchases and DSTV account payments, all of which are free of charge to the customer.

"Over the past few years, Nedbank has been on a journey of innovation aimed at delivering cutting-edge banking and financial solutions that exceed the expectations of our clients and put the power of effective money management in the hands of all South Africans," Thomas explains.

Mixed uptake

According to the GSM Association, last year, mobile money transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa reached $19.9 billion; 63% of the global figure.

It points out that in 2017, the global mobile money industry processed transactions to the tune of $1 billion a day and generated direct revenue of over $2.4 billion, and Sub-Saharan Africa has been identified as a leading market in this regard.

While mobile money offerings have been successful all over the African continent, they do not have a strong track record locally.

In September 2016, MTN SA announced it was decommissioning its mobile money offering in the country due to lack of commercial viability. However, last month, the telco announced it is re-launching the service in SA.

In May 2016, Vodacom also pulled the plug on its offering, M-Pesa, in SA.

According to experts, mobile money in SA will not be a mass product, given the unique dynamics in terms of penetration of financial services in the country.

It is estimated that more than 10 million local citizens remain unbanked, largely due to unemployment, the lingering perception that banks are expensive, and a reluctance of consumers to spend money on banking fees.

According to Nedbank, the savings service associated with MobiMoney is likely to prove invaluable to unbanked clients who do not earn a regular income but need occasional access to the features and benefits of a transactional bank account.

Thomas points out the pilot demonstrates MobiMoney is succeeding in making banking accessible, proving how much people value the free service and the easy registration process.

"With MobiMoney, users can literally sign up for an account in seconds. There's no paperwork, no cost, and no need to go anywhere near a bank branch.

"Nedbank is hugely excited about rolling out MobiMoney across the country in the coming months. In doing so, we will literally be putting affordable banking in the hands of every single South African."

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