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By 9 May 2012 | Categories: news

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In a promising move that may well herald the beginning of a more paperless, cashless society, FNB today launched its new GeoPayments functionality for its banking app, which was launched in the middle of last year.
 
The company explained that the new functionality uses location based services to enable users of the FNB banking app to locate each other, within close range, and make safe and secure cashless payments using their smartphones or tablets without requiring their bank account details.
 
The new functionality, which was demonstrated at the launch event in Sandton today, appeared to work without a hitch,  with a payment between an iPad and a smartphone being made seamlessly in a matter of seconds.
 
Multi-platform parity
 
As the app is compatible with iOS, BlackBerry and Android devices, users can take advantage of GeoPayments to make payments across different platforms.
 
Even more interesting is that GeoPayments is available to both FNB and non FNB customers alike. While FNB customers will have the benefit of being able to pay as well as receive payments, non FNB customers will be able to download the app and receive GeoPayments into an ewallet, which can be created via the app.
 
The ewallet option, however, would function in a similar manner as a physical wallet; if users lose their device then the money contained within their ewallet would similarly be lost. At present the minimum payment that can be made is R1, while the payment limit would depend on one’s normal daily limit that is set by the bank’s customers.
 
Michael Jordaan, the CEO of FNB. 
Cashless is king
 
Michael Jordaan, the chief executive officer of FNB, commented that he believes the new development “will not only offer clients additional convenience, but also unlock strategic potential for cashless payments going forward.”  
 
Jordaan added that, since its launch last year, the app has amassed 160 000 active users to date, and the bank expects this to almost double to 250 000 users by the end of the year. Additionally, the app has been the platform for some four billion rands worth of transactions. He further enthused that the app has been consistently listed as amongst the top downloads in the South African iTunes store.
 
Additionally, FNB reported that, according to a survey by Mastercard, South Africans appear to be even more willing than their international counterparts to trust and embrace mobile payments.
 
Not surprisingly, apparently it is Generation Y in particular (those currently between 25 and 35 years old) who are most willing to embrace mobile banking.
 
To the point
 
So does GeoPayments spell the death knell for brick and mortar banks? Not at all, according to Jordaan, who pointed out that for significant transactions, many people still prefer to go to a physical branch. The same however, may not be said for paper transactions and even eventually cash.
 
“Mobile devices are making banking even more accessible to clients, and it is entirely possible that because of the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, there will be those who may never come into contact with traditional banking,” he concluded.

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