FNB unveils SA-Zimbabwe phone banking service

By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
Sending money from South Africa to Zimbabwe via taxi drivers could become a less
attractive option for transferring cash between the nations as mobile offerings provide
for cheaper remittances. This is according to FNB’s head of digital and alternative
banking, Yolande van Wyk, who has told ITWeb Africa that the
bank’s new Zimbabwe mobile money transfer service could help
dramtically shave off the cost of sending cash from South Africa
to Zimbabwe. FNB’s Zimbabwe money transfer service enables customers in
South Africa registered for FNB Cellphone Banking to send
money to Zimbabwe residents at a remittance fee of R45 for
amounts between R100 – R1000. Meanwhile, amounts of between R1001 and R1500 have a rate fee of R70. Senders
can also send anything from R100 up to R1 500 a day, or even R10 000 a month. To use FNB’s transfer service, recipients in Zimbabwe don’t need to be registered
FNB customers, but they must be residents of that country and hold valid identity
documents. Recipients can then collect their money at two OK Ltd stores in Harare
and Bulawayo. FNB’s van Wyk further told ITWeb Africa that informal ways of sending money to
Zimbabwe from South Africa via taxi drivers could cost anything from R20 for a
R100 transfer. Her statement is backed up by World Bank data, which says that 20% of money sent
to Zimbabwe from South Africa is spent on getting it there. The World Bank also says that an estimated 1.9 million Zimbabweans live and work
in South Africa sending around R6.7 billion annually to that country. “We have done extensive research into the cross border remittance market and
devised a service that is readily accessible to the people who need it most,” van Wyk
has said in a statement. “People don’t always have the time to travel to the bank during working hours, and
often need to send money home instantly and easily,” she has explained. Currently the most traditional ways of sending remittances to Zimbabwe include
MoneyGram, Western Union or sending the money via bank branches, says van Wyk. ITWeb Africa Zimbabwe correspondent, Tawanda Karombo, says Zimbabweans in SA
send money back home through the likes of MoneyGram and other informal means
such as via taxi or bus drivers. Even friends and relatives are roped in to help send
money across the border from Zimbabwe to South Africa, says Karombo. “MoneyGram is fast, but it requires too many formalities such as proof of residence in
SA, which many do not have,” said Karombo. He added, “Informal means are the most used although these present risks such as
non-delivery although bus drivers have been reliable for most.” “The FNB system is relatively new but again, OK Zimbabwe has an almost similar
service already in place,” he said. FNB’s cross-border offering, though, has been launched at a time when Zimbabweans
have taken to mobile money services within their own borders. Zimbabwe’s largest mobile operator by subscriber numbers, Econet Wireless, has said
that out of its 8 million users, 2 million of those are using its mobile money transfer
offering.
Source: ITWebafrica.com

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