ZunguZ, a Facebook-based payments platform that lets users transfer money between one another, announced that it has made US iTunes vouchers available to South Africans.
Due to the lack of music, games, and other content in the South African iTunes store, many SA iPod, iPad, and iPhone owners choose a different country for their iTunes accounts.
To work around this limitation, users create iTunes accounts with the location set to countries such as the UK or US. However, these stores don’t accept South African credit cards.
Apple iTunes gift cards allow users to circumvent this restriction, but stores offering digital iTunes vouchers for the US store outside the United States typically mark up the price.
ZunguZ has now given South Africans the ability to use their South African credit cards to purchase content from the iTunes store via Facebook. Registering for ZunguZ requires that users provide a mobile number to which a numeric code is sent. You then enter the one-time PIN SMSed to you into the Facebook app.
ZunguZ accepts deposits from Visa and Master Card and allows South African users to withdraw money to their cheque or savings accounts.
Robert Sussman and Lance Fanaroff, joint-CEOs of ZunguZ, say that they are in negotiations with several established international banks and financial institutions to extend the service to their clients globally.
“We have limited the withdrawal to any local South African Bank for our first release, so we can control the growth and scale accordingly,” Sussman said, adding that their strategy is to bring on new countries one at a time much as Facebook did when it launched and scaled one university at a time.
“We have finalised banking and financial partners to handle the deposit and withdrawals in the USA (where we will allow for withdrawals next), followed by India and Mexico,” Sussman said.