Mxit launches Standard Bank payment deal

2012-08-16 11:24
Mxit has announced a financial partnership deal for users with Standard Bank. (Mxit)

Mxit has announced a financial partnership deal for users with Standard Bank. (Mxit)

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Cape Town - Social network Mxit has announced a partnership with Standard Bank to provide financial transactions with real money.

"From today [Wednesday], Mxit users will be able to send money to each other for free, as well as to anyone with a cellphone for a nominal fee. They can deposit and withdraw cash, buy Mxit Moola, airtime and electricity using money from their Instant Money account via Mxit Money," Mxit said.

Mxit began as an instant messaging service based in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, and evolved to a social networking platform.

Under the new ownership of Alan Knott-Craig jnr through the World of Avatar, the network has expanded its offerings to an estimated 37 million users, with about 10 million active.

Users can already use the community currency, Moola, to buy virtual content and airtime.

Mobile payments

"This partnership allows us to offer users the ability to transact in the real world from within their social network. Mxit Money is the portal to a mobile marketplace of 10 million users who, with real money, can purchase content and access applications from our development partners," Knott-Craig said.

In his book on social network, Mobinomics, he argues that Mxit operates like a country, with its own rules, government and economy. He sees the community as potentially independent, with the company acting as a facilitator of the transactional interactions.

Research firm Ovum predicted that by the end of 2012 Africa will have 124 million of its mobile users making mobile payments to the total value of R55bn, increasing to 171 million and R76bn by the end of 2014.

In order to use the service, users will have to add the mxitmoney app inside the application and load Instant Money at various "real world" Spar stores, as well as Standard Bank branches and ATMs.

Analysts have predicted that mobile e-commerce will accelerate as more people have access to cellphones, particularly in developing markets.

Smartphones in SA continue to gain traction, enabling users to perform more advanced functions than is possible on feature phones.

Smartphones

World Wide Worx research showed that there are more than 10 million smartphones in SA, due in part to the declining cost of handsets.

Globally, sales of smartphones increased, despite a slowdown in the market, Gartner said. The Android platform commands 64.1% of the market, with leading manufacturer Samsung at a 21.6% share of all mobile sales, up from 16.3% in 2011.

The World Bank produced statistics that showed around 75% of the world's population has access to a mobile phone and it is an indicator not only of communications, but also of the move toward e-commerce on mobile platforms.

"Mobile communications offer major opportunities to advance human and economic development - from providing basic access to health information to making cash payments, spurring job creation, and stimulating citizen involvement in democratic processes," said World Bank vice president for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte.


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