Local businesses dig deep into FNB’s eWallet Pro

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First National Bank (FNB) says more local businesses are processing payments through its eWallet Pro, with a 27% increase in companies using the payment solution.

This, says the bank, comes amid a phasing out of cheque payments, as well as the shift away from cash because of COVID-19.

eWallet Pro is FNB’s electronic payment solution that business owners can use to pay their clients or employees, even if they don't have a bank account.

In a statement, FNB says eWallet Pro saw an 83% increase in payment volumes between June 2020 and June 2021. It also notes a further 50% increase in recipients, and a 44% increase in the value of payments.

Daniel Kaan, CEO of Transact Pillar at FNB Commercial, says: “We are delighted to see many businesses adopting eWallet Pro, our instant and affordable money transfer solution, to pay clients and employees electronically through their mobile phones. This solution further helps businesses to minimise the risks and costs associated with handling cash.

“The bank is witnessing a similar trend across its diverse payments ecosystem as businesses migrate to safer, faster and more cost-effective payment mechanisms, such as electronic funds transfer, mobile payments, online banking and card payments. There’s also been significant growth in the acceptance of contactless card payments, as more consumers adopt convenient and safer payment alternatives when shopping,” adds Kaan.

Like other banks, FNB has witnessed bolstered use of online and digital banking channels amid social distancing protocols in the wake of the pandemic.

In September, the bank recorded over one billion logins on its digital platforms during the financial year ended June.

In addition, customers with limited transactional needs continued to use eWallet as a store of value, with over seven million active wallets, of which 5.6 million are non-FNB customers, it noted.

According to the bank, eWallet Pro continues to show growth in the construction, healthcare, insurance, education and agriculture sectors.

Wandile Mnguni, FNB Commercial Transact Pillar product head, states: “As the festive begins, we are likely to see a further increase in small businesses taking advantage of eWallet Pro to pay temporary staff during the busy holiday period.

“Transacting digitally is important in the current environment, especially considering the safety of people during the festive season given the increased risks associated with the physical handling of cash.”

FNB notes eWallet Pro helps SMEs by reducing the time and costs associated with administration, payroll, handling of cash and direct deposits to pay temporary workers during the festive season.

SMEs that do not have a huge staff complement can also use eWallet Pro to pay permanent employees, travel allowances, bonuses, incentives and gifts, it adds.

“This will add significant value considering the challenges faced by small businesses due to the economic impact of the pandemic. The ability to instantly pay single or multiple staff on their cellphones or prepaid cards will also help enhance security by ensuring there’s minimal cash handling on business premises. Similarly, staff will avoid risks associated with carrying cash as some of them will be paid daily or weekly,” concludes Mnguni.

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