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Author's profile photo Derek Klobucher

VIDEO: To Boldly Bank Where No One Has Banked Before — with Mobile

More than half a million new customers joined South Africa’s biggest bank in less than a year thanks to SAP Mobile Platform, helping unbanked populations meet their banking needs. Almost half of South Africa’s 51 million people earn less than R3,000 ZAR (about $340 USD) per month, and about 15 million of them do not have bank accounts.

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Mobile technology is critical to providing banking services to South Africans who are not close to branches and ATMs.

But more than 80 percent of them have access to a mobile device, according to Audrey Mothupi, head of Inclusive Banking at Standard Bank. “So mobile technology is critical to providing the banking service to them,” Mothupi told SAP TV.

The unbanked are “people who do not use banks or banking institutions in any capacity,” according to Investopedia. “Unbanked persons … typically do not have insurance, pensions or any other type of professional money-related services.”

Yet something as simple as a bank account can be crucial to improving one’s financial situation by helping to establish credit history, obtain a loan and more.

So Johannesburg-based Standard Bank offers AccessAccount, which features benefits of a traditional banking account without having to visit a branch. Part of of a larger program launched in March 2012, AccessAccount has already helped bring in more than 550,000 new customers.

“It’s quick; it’s seamless; it’s fast,” Monthupi said. “The interface between an SAP system and our credit system in the backend is literally milliseconds.”

SAP Mobile Platform, a mobile application development tool, powers AccessAccount. Customers with AccessAccount can use the safe, device agnostic platform for:

  • Person-to-person transfers
  • Purchasing electricity and airtime
  • Cash-in, cash-out and money transfers at Standard Bank AccessPoints
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Simon Sibanda’s convenience store in Soweto is as an AccessPoint, a place where residents can bank without leaving the area.

AccessPoints are businesses that partner with Standard Bank to offer services in communities that do not have ATMs or branches. Simon Sibanda’s convenience store in Soweto serves as an AccessPoint so residents can bank without leaving the area, as told on SAP TV.

Banking at a neighbor’s local shop is a big deal in a post-Apartheid nation where much of the population still does not trust formal financial institutions. Standard Bank also employs local AccessAgents to sign up new customers in their own neighborhoods with devices and gazebos that are both mobile.

“We’ve streamlined the level of trust not only by being visible and building a trust in the community, but also by bringing in technology that works,” Mothupi said. “So the SAP technology that we use has gone a long way in creating that trust.”

Related Media:

Standard Bank’s AccessBanking on SAP mobile platform attracts 550,000 new customers” in Telecom Lead

Banking for the Unbanked” on SAP TV

Standard Bank targets ‘flip-phone’ unbanked with new apps” in Finextra

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