'African expats using cellphones to send money home'
- Parent Category: Mobile
- Published on 16 August 2012
Lesotho and Swaziland expatriates in South Africa are incresingly using mobile banking services to send remittances back home, an official from South Africa's First National Bank (FNB) has revealed.
As a result of this trend, FNB - which has operations in Lesotho and Swaziland - says it has setup its cellphone banking service Pay2Cell in these two nations. Registered FNB cellphone banking customers can choose Pay2Cell as an option to send money to other FNB customers in selected African countries. FNB says that users simply needs to select the country and the recipient's cellphone number in the Pay2Cell option to transfer money, eliminating the need to visit a bank branch.
“We launched the cross border payments for Swaziland and Lesotho because there is a lot of remittance that takes place between SA and these countries, so this was just another suitable way of sending money to people in those countries,” said Dione Sankar, chief operating officer of FNB Cellphone Banking.
“Most people have cellphones now and if they can do the transactions on their phones rather than having to go inside a bank, people would rather sit on their couch and do the transaction,” said Sankar.
Thecla Mbongue, a senior research analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, agrees that electronic channels, such as cellphone banking, are changing the traditional way of making payments in Africa especially regarding remittances.
“As a result of the low banking rates across the continent, mobile phones are becoming an effective tool to reach the unbanked population and to quickly move money around,” Mbogue explains.
“We forecast the number of mobile fund transfer users to increase from about 36 million end-2012 to over 200 million by 2016 in Africa,” she concluded.