South Africa’s Standard Bank has partnered with SAP, a global business management software leader, to launch a platform that will enable users of low-end mobile phones in the country to open accounts through their devices.
This AccessAccount platform aims to allow the unbanked to easily open accounts and monitor their balances.
“This innovative banking project is radically affecting the lives of thousands people for the better,” said Pfungwa Serima, CEO of SAP Africa. “This is a truly innovative project that underpins SAP’s vision to make the world run better and improve people’s lives. We look forward to seeing the continued success of the implementation across the continent.”
Mobile banking agents will sign up users through a portable device that takes “only a few minutes to open accounts”. Once a member, the customers can perform person-to-person transfers, purchase electricity (prepaid) and airtime through their phones and deposit and withdraw money from informal traders signed up with Standard Bank.
“This is a very exciting time for us at Standard Bank. We have built an entirely new IT system and platform that spans across all the bank’s offerings in our ‘Inclusive Banking’ business,” said Peter Wharton Hood, deputy chief executive, Standard Bank Group.
Standard Bank is one of the first leading banks in the world to run SAP Mobile Platform, and says it has witnessed tremendous competitive advantage, thus growing its customer base. The bank is currently opening up to 7,000 new accounts a day via SMS technology, in less than six minutes per transaction.
Research shows that mobile origination, aside from being more accessible for customers, is 80 percent cheaper. Over 14 million South Africans are without access to bank accounts, creating a significant target market for the new AccessAccount product.