MXit Mobile Banking with Standard Bank (told you so)

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In the 09 micro-predictions for ’09 I stated that …

MXit shall offer peer-to-peer micro-payments (Transfer Moola between contacts), become more โ€™socialโ€™ & adopt QQ monetization techniques.

Now MXit have gotten into bed with Standard bank’s MiMoney..

MXit has signed a deal with Standard Bankโ€™s Beyond Payments payment solution, MiMoney.

Buying MXit Moola and mobile airtime has become easier for MXit users with the announcement last week that the mobile social network giant has signed a deal with Standard Bankโ€™s Beyond Payments payment solution, MiMoney.

You Web AddiCT wouldn’t go as far as calling MXit a mobile social network just yet. Mobile IM yes. Social network? Where are my FOAFs?

MiMoney is an electronic payment voucher that can be purchased through self-banking channels and various retailers. According to research conducted by Standard Bank this initiative will save the South African consumer more than R5 billion per year in banking fees, other banking related expenses and telecommunication fees.

A MiMoney electronic voucher is simply a 18-digit number. Yours will be sent by SMS (or, I presume, via the JoeBanker bot or similar within MXit) to your cellphone and will be ready to use at once. If you buy vouchers from a sales agent, you SMS the 18-digit number as directed on your sales slip. You will receive a reply telling you that the MiMoney voucher has been activated and is ready to use.

โ€œOur quest, since launching MXit in May 2005, has been to collaborate with strategic business players in various sectors, especially the banking sector, to ensure that we meet the needs of our target marketโ€, says founder and CEO of MXit, Herman Heunis.

MXit users will be able to purchase MXit Moola at a significantly reduced cost compared to the current premium-rated SMS mechanism once the system goes live in April 2009. (the carrot)

Says Heunis, โ€œA large segment of our user base is entry-level and unbanked. They do not have bank accounts, but they do have mobile phones and with MiMoney they can purchase goods and services with their mobile phones without using hard cash. This is the beginning of seamless mobile banking solutions coupled with lifestyle integration. MXit will start hosting various shop fronts on the MXit platform which will enable users to purchase items such as airtime, music, MXit Moola and otherโ€.

โ€œIf you look at the prediction for internet access via the mobile phone for Africa and the Middle East, some analysts expect an increase of 400+% within five years. We see a major growth potential in Africa for MXit as a communication, educational and transactional toolโ€.

MXit plans to expand the Beyond Payments offering into 26 countries, many of these on the African continent. The expansion into Africa is intended to grow the user base on the continent substantially and we invite mobile operators in the various Africa countries to collaborate with us in creating new revenue streams for all partiesโ€.

Heunis says that MXit is probably one of the first mobile social networks in the world that will allow the direct exchange of money for virtual currency. โ€œWe also see this platform as a solution for our commercial partners to monetize their services and products on MXitโ€, he said.

You Web AddiCT sees this as another great opportunity for the nearly one billion mobile phone users who do not have bank accounts to transfer, save, spend money without having access to ATMs or bank branches in rural Africa.

Two Questions:

  1. Will ‘Mxit Money’ be able to penetrate areas where others in the mobile banking/micropayment arena, like M-PESA, do not have a huge market share yet?
  2. Will we be seeing AIRtime vendors offering Cell C, MTN, Vodacom, Virgin and MXit Money vouchers?

Only time will tell.

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