First National Bank (FNB) announced on Wednesday the launch of a mobile bank account, eWallet eXtra for South Africans which does not require any paperwork. The launch of the mobile bank account is a step into the direction of automated services where human intervention and paperwork is not needed.
According to CEO of FNB Easy, Pieter Woodhatch, FNB noticed how well their eWallet service was doing which is used by over a million users. Also 66% of regular eWallet customers utilise digital or mobile services. Therefore, FNB expanded on eWallet's current functionality which was formerly limited to only money transfers.
"In order to launch this service, digital was the most important factor. This service will pass control back to individuals," added Woodhatch.
FNB Head of Transaction Products: Mass Market, Gugu Zikhali said that eWallet eXtra is a simple and cost-effective solution for those individuals who do not have a bank account. “This is a simple, accessible and cost-effective solution. If you are above the age of 16 and own a cellphone, you’ll be able to get a mobile bank account with a unique account number in less than three minutes, and you don’t need a bank card to transact”, said Zikhali.
With eWallet eXtra, account holders will be able to send and receive deposits from individuals or stores, transact and purchase products like airtime, data and electricity.
“Users can also send to other recipients and withdraw at any FNB ATM or at tills across participating * SPAR stores, which also allow for over the counter purchases”, adds Zikhali.
With the eWallet eXtra account, users can spend a limit of R3000 and R24000 per month.
FNB believes that this mobile bank account will be a success as it addresses gaps that the bank identified in its analysis of entry-level bank accounts and the popularity of the eWallet service.
Woodhatch said that while traditional bank accounts come with monthly fees, they do not cater for irregular clients such as those without a stable income.
“This is why we have integrated some eWallet functionality into the eWallet eXtra mobile bank account. After an in-depth assessment of eWallet user patterns, we realised that in excess of one million users have been effectively using it as a bank account despite the fact that the solution was designed as a remittance service,” said Woodhatch.
“We believe that eWallet eXtra is the ideal solution to address this important gap and based on the analysis of our customer base and research on financial inclusion, we estimate the size of this market to be in excess of 11 million,” he adds.
When asked how FNB can afford to offer a free mobile banking service given the current economic climate and VAT increase, Woodhatch said that FNB considered that digital would be the most feasible way in which the service can be rolled out virtually cost-free. "Digital offers a price that is relative to the market and since we also got our cost structures right, we were able to offer this service to South Africans", said Woodhatch.
Woodhatch added that while there is no monthly fee for eWallet eXtra, individuals also get their first free withdrawal. Thereafter, they will pay standard withdrawal fees.
In order to register with the service, which will be available from June this year, individuals are required to submit their name, surname and ID number on a mobile device.
What the service offers:
- Users will be able to view their bank account balance and transaction history and can also connect their FNB Connect SIM to the service and access eWallet eXtra for free
- A no card, no monthly fee service
The service is also safe as if enables users to generate a secret PIN in order to access their account. As a further safety consideration, eWallet eXtra does not allow debit order functionality. [iol.co.za]