How mobile is changing the face of banking
The main attraction to mobile banking is absolute convenience. Imagine not having to go into your branch, locate an ATM or struggle your way onto your laptop or PC (assuming you even have one)? True real-world mobile banking is closer than you think.
Near Field Technology (NFT) will allow you to pay for goods by touching your smartphone to a device and entering your pin. It can also be used to scan prices, use coupons, buy tickets, book dinner at a restaurant or make hotel reservations. And bump technology will enable you to simply touch your phone to another phone and instantly swap business cards or pay a friend, share photos and videos and play multiplayer games.
A few payment systems have already launched in South Africa, namely:
Vodacom’s m-pesa allows you to convert real money into electronic money (e-money) at any authorised m-pesa outlet. You can then transfer this e-money to others, pay for goods and services as well as settle accounts.
If you don’t have a traditional bank account, you’re able to deposit cash into your m-pesa account and send e-money to other mobile users who can then convert the e-money back into cash. You can also convert
the e-money in your m-pesa account back into cash at any time.
First National Bank has just launched a banking app for iPhone, Blackberry and Android that allows you to do (almost all your) banking via your mobile, including transfers and payments. This is the first fully fledged transactional banking app to launch in SA.
ABSA, not to be outdone, has launched an app for Android phones that allows their salesforce to open bank accounts and issue debit cards. The app will scan a client’s ID book to ensure the correct information, before screening the information to the bank’s data centre to allow the opening of the account. This will be a huge aid in rural and outlying areas.
Standard Bank has Mowaly, a mobile wallet that makes use of mimoney, Standard Bank’s electronic currency that’s accepted at several online vendors in South Africa. That said, while the mimoney service is growing steadily, the Mowaly product seems to be pretty dormant, with no activity on their Facebook page since 2009 and very little public attention since they launched with a splash two years ago.
Will you be using any one of these services to make your life easier? I know that I will. Imagine simply scanning a cheque to my account and the money is there!