Cell phone banking is nothing new but with the growth in apps and service providers entering the platform, mobile banking is taking off in great strides.
In Africa, Nigeria leads the charge followed by South Africa and Kenya where growth in mobile is expected to be highest, according to website, Mobile Money.
Mobile banking possibly best populated by cell phones includes internet banking and banking via apps. Apps have given rise to the concept of a mobile wallet. Not only is the concept of a mobile wallet extremely cool and wonderfully trendy, it has important functionality, making banking services available to the previously unbanked.

Millions of users
In South Africa ABSA, Standard Bank and First National Bank have 11 million cell phone bankers among them with ABSA and First having four million each, and Standard three million.
ABSA, FNB, Standard and Nedbank all offer mobile banking with a variety of services. It’s well worth your while to explore what’s available at each bank. Among the most common are payment of beneficiaries and purchasing pre-pay airtime. Interestingly, with ABSA and FNB you can pay traffic fines too. FNB offers a pre-pay electricity services while at ABSA it is possible to do cardless withdrawals at an ATM.
To enjoy the flexibility of mobile banking, you first have to register for it either at a branch or through internet banking. Each bank has different requirements so you need to find out what will work best for you.
When conducting transactions all you will need is cell phone reception and airtime, but please note, not all transactions are free.

Apps move mobile forward

In addition to banks, other players have entered the market with apps. One of these is SnapScan from MTN which has registered more than 14 000 business in South Africa. According to Arthur Goldstuck, CE of WorldWideWorx, an internet research company, SnapScan is just one example of a new breed of banking services that are easy to use and growing in popularity. Mobile apps are the ideal solution for small business that find owing a credit card machine too expensive. The beauty of apps is that they cost the consumer nothing apart from the data used to process a transaction. The growth in these apps can be attributed to the cost of carrying hard cash for both consumers and banks.
ABSA’s Payment Pebble, Nedbank’s Pocket POS and FNB e-wallet are among the most commonly used apps in South Africa.
Mobile app FlickPay is in discussion with a major retailer to make it possible to pay for groceries by phone. Facebook has also mentioned its intention to offer mobile shopping, and twitter is not far behind.
NB Info file
Feature phone: an entry level cell phone with less computing ability than a smartphone (Wikipedia).
Smartphone: a cell phone built on a mobile operating system with more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a feature phone (Wikipedia).
USSD: Unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) is a technology similar to SMS. USSD is present on all South African mobile communication networks.