By 2 February 2011 | Categories: news


More and more South Africans are making use of cellphone banking compared to last year. According to the Mobility 2011 research project conducted by World Wide Worx, 44% of urban cellphone users now utilise cellphone banking services, compared to 27% a year earlier.
Within smaller centres and towns, 27% of cellphone users now use cellphone banking services, which suggest that rural areas lag behind urban users by around a year when it comes to the taking up of these services. In terms of the big picture, 37% of South Africans living within urban as well as rural areas, aged 16 and older, now use their cellphones to handle some of their banking needs.
“Our predominant customer base resides within the mainstream market: 65% of FNB’s 2.6 million customer base earns less than R100 000 per annum and are between the ages of 18 - 40 years old,” said Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO FNB Cellphone Banking Solutions. “Cellphone Banking is becoming the preferred alternative as people across the board are driven by the anywhere, anytime concept of banking,” he continued. 
Most of the users (41%) employing cellphone banking services on their mobile phones fall within the 26-34 age grouping, with only 11% of users in the over-45 group adopting cellphone banking. Male users (56%) outnumber female users (44%), with education also playing a role in the adoption of cellphone banking. The latter is evident from the fact that 43% of cellphone banking users have completed matric, as well as 38% being in possession of a post-matric qualification/s.
The vast majority of cellphone banking customers make use of basic services, the likes of balance enquiries (78%) and notifications (58%). Transactional services are now also coming to the forefront, for the first time. Half of respondents are buying airtime, 24% are paying accounts via cellphone banking and 17% are transferring funds between accounts. Emerging Mobile commerce transactions including purchases and sending money to friends and family via cellphones are also appearing for the first time. Around 12% of cellphone banking users are sending money to other individuals and 11% are making purchases via their cellphone.
For most of these services urban users are far more likely to have employed them, except when it comes to sending airtime to another user, with 33% of rural users of cellphone banking having done so, compared to only 22% of urban users.
“Products like the FNB eWallet are allowing us to bridge the gap between the banked and the unbanked and address the real need of access to financial services. This also allows for the transfer of cash and airtime to be done safely and easily,” stated Yolande van Wyk, CEO of FNB Smart Services.
The uptake in cellphone banking looks set to continue as over 80% of cellphone banking users are satisfied with the security of these services.
“Previous studies had shown satisfaction with security as below 60%, indicating that market education and experience has made the difference in uptake,” explained Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.


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