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MXit enters mobile payments arena

Today, Stellenbosch-based MXit, the largest mobile social network on the African continent, signed an exclusive agreement for IM providers with wiWallet to bring mobile payment services to MXit’s 10-million active users.

wiWallet is a subsidiary of UCS Group Limited (‚UCS‚ ), the largest provider of retail software within South Africa, where the Group services 95% of SA’s top retailers.

This agreement will enable MXit to bring mobile payment services to its active user base of approximately 10-million strong in South Africa within the 2nd quarter of this year.

Herman Heunis, founder and CEO of MXit, and Bevan Ducasse, founder and CEO, with Basie Kok, co-founder and CTO of wiWallet, all graduates from Stellenbosch University, are delighted and confident that both companies have the right ingredients to play a significant role in the mobile payments landscape for the African continent, starting with South Africa.

‚MXit was one of the first mobile IMs, if not the first, in the world to create a virtual voucher economy for our users as early as 2005, purely based on premium rated SMS: but due to operator costs, we were limited to selling small value items only, such as wallpapers, skinz and other virtual goods,‚ says Heunis.

‚Our plan is not to replace our existing Moola payment platform as it is geared to handle millions of micro-payments daily, but to complement it with the wiWallet mobile payment gateway and voucher system to enable our users to purchase more costly items such as airtime, electricity, music, games, as well as make in-store purchases in the hospitality and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) market.

‚Our intention is to keep the cost to our users as low as possible and to seamlessly integrate the wiWallet payment gateway into the MXit application to make payments and transfers of vouchers very simple.

‚I’m happy that we have a good DNA match in terms of company culture, product functionality and commercials, and with these ingredients, if I look at M-Pesa in Kenya which has set a benchmark in terms of success criteria, I’m confident that we have a good chance of achieving the same success,‚ says Heunis.

‚With UCS software used in more than 15,000 stores in South Africa and more than 20 million South African consumers interacting with UCS software per month, this provides the right platform to leverage our mobile payment gateway,‚ said Ducasse. ‚Over the last few years our team has, through extensive strategy, development, and perseverance, built a leading, robust mobile payment system, which alongside an established, interactive mobile user base and access to a large retail footprint, provides all the complementary elements required for a successful mobile payments partnership‚ .

Dean Sparrow, Deputy CEO, of the UCS Group says, ‚We saw a unique opportunity, dating back to 2006, to build technology that would seamlessly facilitate the offering of value added services (VAS) for the retailer to their consumers. wiWallet and its mobile payment platform, gateway and applications was identified as the mobile technology and associated channel through which VAS could be facilitated, and we are delighted that MXit has chosen wiWallet’s technology and dynamic team to support their strategic initiative.

‚We believe the combination of wiWallet technology as well as the UCS retail footprint is a strong value proposition for MXit to accelerate the introduction of mobile payments for VAS and products to their enviable subscriber base,‚ concludes Sparrow.

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