Mobile phones 'crucial' for African banking

Jan 10, 2011

Mobile phones have become a key tool for carrying out financial transactions in South Africa and other African nations, one senior executive at First National Bank (FNB) has stated.

According to BusinessDay, Yolande van Wyk, Chief Executive Officer at FNB Smart Services, explained they are especially useful in remote areas where access to bank branches is difficult.

The financial institution, which provides loans, mortgages and savings accounts - among other services - currently has 2.5 million customers using its cellphone banking service.

"Mobile telephony has become the ideal channel to facilitate financial transactions and deliver financial information," Mr Van Wyk was quoted as saying.

Banks are able to use mobile phones - which have a penetration rate of over 110 per cent in South Africa - to attract the unbanked population, which may own a handset but have not set up an account.

FNB introduced its mobile banking offering in 2005 and estimates that R27 billion (€3.05 billion) has been transferred through it since its launch.