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.
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).