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Mobile Money reaches 1 million customers

Last week MTN’s Mobile Money announced that they passed the 1 million customer mark & processed over R1 billion in the 9 months since their launch. For perspective, this customer base makes them around 20% the size of SA’s biggest bank.

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Not to be confused with internet banking, Mobile Money is a virtual account, accessed via a mobile device with the aim of reaching SA’s unbanked population and “making banking as accessible as mobile communications”.

I was able to setup mobile money on my phone quite quickly and create a mobile PIN for my account (you will get an automated reminder if you don’t do this).

Here’s how it works:

  • Mobile Money is open to all SA residents with a green ID book 16 years or older
  • Account holders access their accounts through USSD.
  • Deposits and withdrawals  of cash is enabled via Pick n Pay and Boxer stores so there is a large footprint of stores all across  the country.
  • Customers can instantly transfer money to another cell phone number using the “send money” option.
  • A key part of Mobile Money is that airtime can be purchased. MTN customers receive a 5% “cash reward” (cash back) into their accounts, irrespective of the network for which the airtime was purchased
  • Fees are structured by customer transactions: cash deposits and withdrawals cost R4 (flat fee), while sending money transactions costs R1.
  • Some fees are waived for MTN customers, such as cash deposit and sending money fees.
  • A maximum balance of R25 000 and a daily transaction limit of R1 000 are specified for the account.

MTN & their partners see few things setting Mobile Money apart from similar solutions:

  • Customers can self  self-register remotely for Mobile Money using their own cell phones without the need to visit a branch & complete/submit paperwork
  • Mobile Money can be accessed even if the customer has a zero airtime balance
  • There’s no monthly service fee
  • There’s no minimum balance requirements

We haven’t seen “banking wars” in SA like we have these past few years. Personally I love it – it’s good news for the consumer & it’s making us think, compare & question as we should be. Besides getting a “supplementary service error: system failure” message at times (could be because I’m with another network, not sure) Mobile Money worked fine and was simple enough to navigate.

To access Mobile Money, dial *120*668# on any mobile phone or call 083 123 0145 for more information (both are free for MTN customers).

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