The growth of internet use has in the last five years increased such that over 60% of internet traffic generated on the African continent has been attributed to South Africa with internet users increasing from six million as of June 2013. A research conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers provides that the expected amount of internet users in South Africa will be 22.8 million by 2015 due to the increase of smart phones.
It is in line with this study that South African banks have of late been making efforts bent on focusing on their quest to perk up the ratio of reducing clients’ dependence on branches but rather use other cheap and convenient self service methods. It is the growth in cell phone ownership by the banking sector that has seen this development as a leeway to enhance their banking facilities.
As such, many people no longer queue to deposit money or get a bank statement but with a cell phone and by a flick of a finger, banking services can be easily accessed. Mobile banking facilities provide the banking industry with a prospect to not only reduce the cost of serving their customers, but also to enhance their service as more and more customers serve themselves through mobile banking and other self service channels.
In South Africa, mobile banking was pioneered in the banking industry in August 2000 by ABSA when it introduced an SMS mobile banking facility. This development saw FNB, Standard Bank and NedBank offering the same service to their customers and thereby making significant efforts to improve their mobile banking platforms.
This positive feedback has lured app developers to get involved in the mobile banking app race hence several banking apps have been seen helping users understand and analyse their spending habits on an annual, monthly and daily basis.
Not only do cell phones benefit banks but some businesses have profited from this initiative. In South Africa, cell phone banking can also buy electricity and transect card less cash withdrawals. Users can also buy prepaid airtime for themselves or someone else on networks like Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin Mobile, 8ta.
It is in regard with the above that cell phones have proved that there are not only communications and social media tools but also means to do business fast in a cheap and cost effective way.