First National Bank (FNB) has registered a patent in South Africa for a method of transferring money using an instant messaging service and has included the functionality in its smartphone app.
This is according to the head of FNB Connect, Farren Roper.
Roper said that although instant messaging and mobile banking on their own aren’t patentable, the combination of the two is what makes the technology unique and patentable.
Users of the FNB app can send money to a contact as an instant message in much the same way as they would send a photo.
Funds are sent from and received to an FNB eWallet, a service which is open to non-FNB customers and linked to your cellphone number.
Users that aren’t FNB customers can only load money into their eWallet at an FNB ATM that supports automated deposits (FNB ADT) after registering at an FNB EasyPlan branch.
FNB promises that this registration is an easy process and that it only requires a green bar-coded South African identity book.
According to FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan, while the patent for the technology may seem like a small thing now, it will hold significance for the bank in the future.