Mxit and Standard Bank have joined forces to provide real money transactions for Mxit’s 10 million active South African users through Mxit Money, its mobile commerce platform. From today, Mxit users will be able to send money to each other for free, as well as to anyone with a cell phone for a nominal fee. They can deposit and withdraw cash, buy Mxit Moola, airtime and electricity using money from their Instant Money account via Mxit Money.
Instant Money is an electronic currency from Standard Bank used predominantly for person-to-person money remittances where one or both parties are usually unbanked. Instant Money is also used to facilitate online payments without the need for a credit card or bank account.
Mxit Money is a gateway for mobile payment services that enables its users to transact with their mobile phones. Users can access Mxit Money as a contact within the Mxit platform or by downloading the stand-alone iPhone application.
Mxit’s vast community has always been able to transact on its platform using the Mxit currency, Moola. This partnership allows the community to move beyond buying virtual content and start purchasing real-world services for the first time.
According to Mxit CEO Alan Knott-Craig, this will open the social network up to immense retail and trade possibilities giving South Africans a great opportunity to capatalise on the growing trend towards mobile payments.
Research indicates that by the end of 2012 South Africa will have 14million¹ of its mobile users making mobile payments to the total value of R7billion¹, and that by the end of 2012 Africa will have 124million² of its mobile users making mobile payments to the total value of R55billion². By the end of 2014 this is expected to increase to 171million² mobile payers contributing a total value of R76billion².
“This partnership allows us to offer users the ability to transact in the real world from within their social network. Mxit Money is the portal to a mobile marketplace of 10 million users who, with real money, can purchase content and access applications from our development partners,” says Knott-Craig. “To top it off, Standard Bank, an African bank, is showing the world how to integrate the old world with the new. A bank and a social network are working together to make life easier. Our users win, our partners win and the bank wins.”
The mobile payment space is fraught with technical, regulatory and user adoption challenges. Standard Bank has succeeded in addressing these with its Instant Money offering, which gives customers the ability to securely transfer, withdraw and spend their money.
“In a competitive and ever-changing marketplace, it is essential for banks to provide innovative solutions,” says John Campbell, Head of Beyond Payments, Standard Bank’s innovations unit. “By partnering with a social network and integrating into the Mxit Money platform, we have demonstrated that Instant Money can be used in the digital and real world to access funds, affect payments and transfer real money between people. We are proud to lead the digital sphere with Mxit, which continually evolves to meet changing customer and market needs. This is another demonstration of its leadership.”
Mxit developed the application in collaboration with the Payments Team at FireID, a technology and innovation company from Stellenbosch. The initial roll out will be limited. Mxit users can register on the Mxit Money contact or via the iPhone app and once a space is available, they will be notified.
In our limited use of the app, we found the UI very simple to use, and very fluid. We will keep you posted as we start using it more.