FNB has launched what it calls the “next level” of e-wallets in South Africa – a full service bank account opened and managed on all phones.
According to FNB CEO Jacques Celliers, that new e-wallet, called eWallet eXtra, will move the current product from a simple “send money” account to a fully mobile bank account that’s accessible on a feature phone or a smartphone.
The service is available for everyone with a valid South African ID, and you do not need to be an FNB account holder or visit a branch, FNB said.
An account can be opened in under 3 minutes from anywhere, with no need for paper work. Additionally, the account carries no monthly fees, it said. Every account will get its own account number – something which many eWallet users did not have access to before.
Currently, the eWallet eXtra will allow any South African with a cellphone pay, send money, receive money and spend money, with fees set to kick in only once customers start transacting through the account.
These include withdrawal fees, on-sending money to other accounts, [email protected], and standard pay-as-you-transact fees. The first withdrawal fee for the month is free, however.
According to the bank, the eWallet payment functionality has already been tested with Spar, which will set the basis for payments going forward. In the second phase of the release project, payments will be extended to all FNB POS devises.
In term of limits, a maximum of R14,000 can be deposited in the account at any given time, and users can circulate R24,000 in a month. Daily spending limits are at R3,000.
FNB said that 8 million customers have ‘touched’ the eWallet in some way – but Celliers said that over 1 million customers use the eWallet as their primary banking account.
These customers will be included in future customer tallies, he said.
South Africa is expected to see at least two new digital-only banks launching this year, including Tyme Digital and Bank Zero (founded by former FNB executives). FNB said that while it was sure these banks would each bring their own approach, it believes it has a solid base with its eWallet, and will benefit from first-mover advantage in mobile banking.