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eWallets move R10-billion in SA

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Last week, FNB announced that more than R10bn has been sent to recipients via eWallet in South Africa since it started in 2009.

Fifty-three percent, R5.3 billion, of the R10 billion was sent in the last year alone (May 2013 to April 2014), proving that mobile money is fast becoming an accepted replacement for person to person cash payments. eWallet continues to experience high growth rates, with an increase of 95% in the value sent, year-on-year.

We have seen such strong growth in our eWallet solution in South Africa. This proves the growing need to send money easily and instantly to anyone in the country. A challenge easily solved with FNB’s eWallet solution,” says Yolande Steyn (n√©e van Wyk), CEO of eWallet Solutions at FNB.

FNB’s eWallet consumer service accounts for the majority of sends, R8,7 billion, while the bank’s newer business solution, eWallet Pro, allows businesses to pay the unbanked through their cell number or a prepaid card, is starting to show significant growth as well. eWallet Pro has proven popular in the construction, healthcare, insurance, education and agriculture industries.

eWallet is more than just a money transfer service as it allows the wallet holder to perform a variety of transactions including purchasing prepaid airtime, data and electricity, sending money to another cellphone, paying bills and purchasing at selected retailers.

Gauteng eWallet users send and receive the lion’s share of mobile money in the country with a 46% share, followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal at 14% and the Eastern Cape at 11%.

We find that main urban centres tend to have higher usage because of population density and the fact that people use an eWallet for reasons other than sending money home, such as paying friends or purchasing airtime,” adds Steyn.

However, it is outside of the main cities that the real impact of using an eWallet for remittance is evident with money being withdrawn in outlying areas such as Butterworth in Eastern Cape and Hoedspruit in Limpopo.

The majority of eWallet sends are to family and friends, and recipients receive money on average twice a month.

Our FNB ATM network is central to the success of eWallet with its extended footprint across the country,” says Steyn. “New banking technologies such as the Slimline ATMs, which replaced the old FNB Mini ATM last year, are helping us reach remote and rural communities as well as encouraging the growth of eWallet.

“We are constantly working on enhancing the eWallet service, it is now available on the FNB App and we have added many features to ensure that it is simple and convenient. We cater for the needs of a broad spectrum of eWallet users, from those with a basic cellphone who only use it to make and receive calls to the techno-savvy eWallet users who access the FNB App to make calls and perform GeoPayments,” continued Steyn.

Mobile money still has room for growth in South Africa.

Because of the high penetration of mobile phones, mobile money is one of the simplest ways to cater to the need to have money sent instantly. We believe though that there is still huge room for growth, and we are working on additional exciting features that will make a real impact on the way mobile money operates in South Africa,” concludes Steyn.

New features introduced to the eWallet over the last two years include:

– Enabling registered eWallet users to deposit cash at FNB ATM Advance

– Accessing eWallet via the FNB App

– Enabling calls and instant messaging via the FNB App

– Additional 1093 locations where money can be withdrawn using an FNB Slimline device

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