Banking from their cellphones
Research released by The World Wide Worx shows that the number of people banking from their cellphones has exceeded that of people banking from their PCs in South Africa, with more than a quarter of bank customers turning to their cellphones for services ranging from informational transaction types such as balance enquiries to financial transaction types which include account payments.
The Mobility 2009 study is being conducted in four phases, with the first three looking at the use of mobile technologies by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Consumers and Corporations, and the final phase exploring the Mobile Internet.
In the second phase it was revealed that, while 16% of banking customers in South Africa use the internet for banking, 28% use their cellphones. A total of 34% of banking customers use one or both of these channels. Outside of the branch and ATMs, only 6% relying exclusively on the internet, while 18% rely only on cellphone banking.
The study revealed that the main services driving cellphone banking were balance enquiries and notifications of transactions, with three quarters of cellphone bankers using these features. Just under half view statements on their cellphones, 35% transfer between accounts, and 28% pay accounts on their cellphones. In contrast, only 8% add beneficiaries via the cellphone, indicating both security concerns and set-up issues.
At the same time, two thirds of cellphone banking users were satisfied with the security of the channel. This suggests that, once customers start using cellphone banking, they grow increasingly confident in both security and usability aspects.
The study also shows purchasing via the cellphone beginning to take off, with 24% of cellphone banking customers purchasing prepaid electricity and 21% making general purchases like movie tickets and flowers. Purchase of airtime still leads the way here, accounting for 61% of cellphone banking users.
Mobility 2009 included research among 1,000 consumers in metropolitan areas, 1,000 SMEs and 240 large enterprises in South Africa.
Services driving cellphone banking:
Balance enquiry: 74%
Buying airtime: 61%
Notification of account limit: 47%
Transfer funds between accounts: 35%
Pay accounts: 28%
Buy pre-paid electricity: 24%
Make a purchase: 21%
Add beneficiaries: 8%