Update: Bitcoin can also do Person-to-Person cryptocurrency transfers without a bank.
While FNB introduced PayPal to the small percentage (FNB account holders) of South African internet population (5 million), Standard Bank are introducing a new person-to-person money transfer system that will cater for the masses of the South African population who do not even have bank accounts let alone internet access. All you need is an SMS enabled cell phone.
The new service, Instant Money, is provided by Standard Bank and will use Spar’s 850 stores to reach communities in some of the most remote parts of the country. The money is sent and received at Spar outlets, using a cellphone to transfer information. Instant Money will initially be available from Spar stores in the Eastern Cape.
Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive, Standard Bank South Africa, says the new service means people no longer have to take the risk of giving an envelope full of cash to a middleman – like a friend or a taxi driver – and telling them where to deliver it.
“It’s a way for users who don’t have a bank account to get access to financial services,” he says.
“Financial services are largely limited to urban areas at the moment, mainly because of the expense of rolling out banks and services in less affluent areas. What this means is that most people in rural areas operate on a cash basis.”
Instant Money has been developed in such a way that the service can be accessed on even the simplest mobile phone models and across networks
Leading market research organisation Gartner believes money transfers and payments over mobile phones will be among the top 10 most important mobile applications by 2012 – ahead of location-based services, search and browsing. Money transfers are already popular in a number of developing countries, and will continue to attract more users, according to Gartner’s Top 10 Consumer Mobile Applications for 2012.
Read more on why here.