Mxit today launched its mobile commerce platform, which will see it provide its 10 million active South African users with the ability to perform real money transactions.
The service, Mxit Money, is now offered in partnership with one of South Africa’s leading banks the Standard Bank, in Johannesburg.
This is a great innovation by Africa’s largest social network. The question that follows is whether or not Mxit Money will be rolled out to the rest of the social network’s users in other countries in Africa?
While speaking to HumanIPO Sarah Rice, Head of Communications at Mxit, commented that they will not be rolling it out beyond South Africa yet.
“Financial regulation is tricky and it will take building relationships and meeting each country’s specific regulations for us to work across Africa and in other countries. We are starting in South Africa. Once we have bedded down the tech and the use case we will move into the rest of Africa,” she said.
Alan Knott-Craig, CEO of Mxit, says he believes this will open up the mobile-first social network to immense retail and trade possibilities.
The service is also expected to give Mxit’s South African users an opportunity to capitalise on the growing trend towards mobile payments.
Users on the social network will be able to send money to each other for free, as well as send money to anyone with a mobile phone in South Africa for a nominal fee. They will in addition be able to deposit and withdraw cash, buy Mxit Moola (Mxit’s virtual currency), airtime and electricity.
“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,” said Knott-Craig.
To top it off, Standard Bank, an African bank, is showing the world how to integrate the old world with the new, he adds, a bank and a social network are working together to make life easier.
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. Once a space is available, they will be notified.
John Campbell who heads the Beyond Payments innovations unit at Standard Bank’s said that in a competitive and ever-changing marketplace, it is critical for banks to offer innovative solutions.
“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,” he said.