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South Africa's First National Bank is rolling out some new mobile financial tools for both merchants and consumers. FNB's merchants will be offered a mobile POS product, and consumers will be able to use a new e-wallet to buy digital goods.
The new FNB mobile point-of-sale tool is the result of a new partnership with mPowa, a U.K.-based mobile POS provider. MPowa is providing FNB a white-label solution that lets merchants process electronic transactions on an iOS, Android or Blackberry device using a free app and a card-reading attachment. The app and reader will be provided by mPowa, but FNB will handle the processing and will brand the solution with its own look and identity.
"We have recognized the need to support our merchants' desire for mobility and convenience," said Jacques Celliers, CEO of FNB business banking, in the announcement. "We will be looking to mPowa to provide us with a robust and secure mobile environment that will appeal to our demanding and techno-savvy customers."
Additionally, FNB is joining with Mxit, Africa's largest social media network, to integrate the bank's electronic wallet into the Mixit Money mobile commerce platform. The result is FNB Moola+.
Using FNB Moola+, Mxit users can buy online currency, or "Moola," at a reduced rate, saving 35 percent of the cost to buy the same currency via SMS. Moola can then be used to buy content, applications and games on the social network.
"With the integration into Mxit we are taking advantage of the micro-payment potential of Mxit Moola," said Yolande van Wyk, CEO of FNB eWallet Solutions.
Alan Knott-Craig, CEO of Mxit, said one of the greatest challenges to mobile commerce is to get money into the system in a cost-effective way. Working with FNB, Mxit can begin to address that issue.
"Traditionally the only way to get real money into our ecosystem was to use premium-rated SMS services," Knott-Craig said. "This is an expensive solution and puts a lot of pressure on Mxit to provide fair value to the user while still recouping its costs. The partnership with FNB means that we can now offer our users even more value."