MTN yesterday, 22 November 2012, launched its mobile banking service in partnership with South African Bank of Athens, Pick n Pay, and Boxer Stores.
The service will compete with Vodacom's M-Pesa mobile payment service to provide convenience to customers and is one of the many value-added services used by mobile operators to retain customers. It is also seen as a new revenue stream.
MTN's Mobile Money allows customers to make payments from their cellphones and transfer funds to other users easily with their Mobile Money account.
Customers will be able to pay for purchases at no cost through a mobile transfer at tills at any Pick n Pay and Boxer store.
The product charges R4 for deposits and withdrawals and customers can also use the money they have deposited to buy prepaid airtime and prepaid electricity directly from cellphones.
MTN's Mobile Money is operated by TYME, a distribution channel of The South African Bank of Athens.
Rival Vodacom is enhancing its M-Pesa mobile money service, which has not gained the same popularity in SA as it has in Kenya, where it is provided by Vodacom's sister company Saraficom.
"Mobile Money is yet another innovation that is aimed at using a full range of ICT (information and communications technology) solutions to ensure that customers enjoy convenient and affordable financial services," said MTN SA chief marketing officer Serame Taukobong. He said that in future a mobile device would be integral in building a society that carried no cash, but could transact through a mobile device.
Pick n Pay marketing director Bronwen Rohland said the company was chosen to partner with MTN because it offered a large retail footprint through Pick n Pay and Boxer outlets.
"We believe that this facility will be successful because the technology works on all cellphones, not just smartphones," she said. Pick n Pay and its franchises register more than 50million consumer transfers a month. MTN has about 25-million active customers in SA.
South African Bank of Athens head of customer strategy Darryl Adriaanzen said while revenue was expected to be made off the offering, costs needed to be kept to a minimum. Being a smaller bank, he said, helped to keep costs down, but the key was also to be nimble and respond quickly to what the partners were doing.
The bank will provide the banking licence for the operation and also provide important compliance and regulatory management, Mr Adriaanzen said. "There is room to roll out in Africa and southeast Europe, but we are not looking that far ahead at the moment," he said.
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