SA Standard Bank to expand mobile banking business in Africa.

By bne IntelliNews February 20, 2012
Standard Bank, which is the leader on the mobile transactions market in South Africa, plans to expand its cellphone banking and payment services throughout Africa in a bid to benefit from the expected strong growth of the mobile money business on the continent, Business Day reported. The bank will use its existing mobile payment platform, which would be tailored to meet the specific conditions of the different markets. "Mobile banking is the future for Africa and we aim to invest in a big way," Herman Singh, CEO of Beyond Payments, Standard Banks mobile payment unit, was quoted as saying. Analysts say that mobile banking is expected to become one of the biggest revenue drivers for banks and telecom companies in Africa, as it is the cheapest delivery channel due to the lack of enough branches, ATMs and PoS terminals on the continent. Moreover, there is a large number of unbanked population that can be reached through mobile banking services. "Mind you we are talking of a population of 800 million people with purchasing power of USD 1trln, yet there are only 50 million accounts, of which we estimate 80% are in South Africa," Singh said. He added that Standard Bank is processing about ZAR 1bn (EUR 98.3mn) of the up to ZAR 2bn being sent or received via mobile money every month and transacted through PoS terminals at retailers in South Africa. South Africa's First National Bank (FNB) said last week it saw a 150% annual transaction growth for its cellphone banking service and 1,384% rise for its eWallet service in African countries outside its domestic market in December 2011.

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