FNB launches mobile bank account for unbanked consumers

FNB has announced the launch eWallet eXtra, a mobile offering that enables unbanked South Africans to open a bank account remotely via their cellphones

The service, which is scheduled for launch in June, will enable consumers to open a bank account without ever having to walk into a branch and without having to submit any paperwork.

The entire process of opening an account is done digitally and the only details you would have to input on your phone is your name, surname and ID number.

“eWallet eXtra will enable users to send or receive deposits from individuals and other banks, store funds for an unlimited period,  pay accounts and also buy prepaid products like airtime, data and electricity. Users can also on send to other recipients and withdraw at any FNB ATM or at tills across participating Spar stores, which also allow for over-the-counter purchases. The daily spend limit is R3 000,” says Gugu Zikhali, FNB Head of Transaction Products: Mass Market.

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 Account holders will also be able to check their bank account balance and transaction history and similar to any bank account, you’ll need to generate a PIN in order to access the account. 

The idea was born out of the need to bring the gap between banked and unbanked consumers, while also servicing the needs of irregular income earners like season workers who don’t always necessarily need all the services offered with a traditional bank account.

“This is why we have integrated some eWallet functionality into the eWallet eXtra mobile bank account. After an in-depth assessment of eWallet user patterns, we realised that in excess of one million users have been effectively using it as a bank account despite the fact that the solution was designed as a remittance service,” says Pieter Woodhatch, FNB Easy CEO.

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 There are no monthly banking fees attached to eWallet eXtra and it doesn’t accept debit orders.  

“We believe that eWallet eXtra is the ideal solution to address this important gap and based on the analysis of our customer base and research on financial inclusion, we estimate the size of this market to be in excess of 11 million,” he adds.

You need to be over the age of 16 to use the offering.