FNB's mobile money solutions post huge growth across Africa.

By bne IntelliNews February 17, 2012
South Africa's First National Bank (FNB), a unit of FirstRand Ltd, recorded a huge growth of its mobile banking services in African countries outside its domestic market, BusinessLive reported. The bank saw a 150% annual transaction growth for its cellphone banking service and 1,384% rise for its eWallet service in December 2011. FNBs customers made in December 2.4 million cellphone banking transactions in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Swaziland and Lesotho, to the value of ZAR 214mn (EUR 21mn), compared to 986,000 transactions in December 2010. In Botswana, which is FNBs leading market outside South Africa in terms of cellphone banking activity, clients made 1.3 million transactions in December, up 126% y/y. Botswana has 2.3 million cellphone users, according to data by International Telecommunications User (ITU). Namibia recorded an annual growth in cellphone banking transactions of 155%, Zambia 308% and Swaziland 227%. The significant growth of mobile banking in African markets is due to consumers' increasing confidence in their mobile handsets as communication devices, coupled with the convenience the solution offers, according to Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO of FNB Cellphone Banking Solutions. Users can conduct a number of transactions using FNB Cellphone Banking, including transferring money between their own FNB accounts, buying prepaid airtime and making third party payments. FNBs newer eWallet service, which allows clients to send money to anyone within the borders of the country, as the recipient does not need to have a bank account, has generated 407,110 original sends in its four African operations - Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Zambia from its launch to the end of December 2011. In Botswana, FNB eWallet, saw an yearly increase in original sends of 1,236% in December 2011. "Simple, convenient and affordable financial services represent the future of banking in Africa," FNB eWallet Solutions CEO Yolande van Wyk was quoted as saying.

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