Standard Bank South Africa was one of the five nominees up for the award Best Product, Initiative or Service in Emerging Markets at the 2013 GSMA Global Mobile Awards. These prestigious international awards recognise contributions made to the evolving and developing mobile industry and were presented earlier this week in Barcelona, Spain, at the Mobile World Congress.
The category in which Standard Bank South Africa’s AccessBanking product was shortlisted, recognises mobile initiatives that have had a tangible effect in bridging the digital divide in emerging markets.
Standard Bank was the only South African organisation to be nominated in this category. Read all about Standard Bank South Africa’s services at http://www.standardbank.co.za.
The initiatives include those that have ‘connected the unconnected’ by bringing affordable mobile apps and services to people for the first time, and products and services that have had a proven effect on empowering people.
Standard Bank’s AccessBanking offering centers on an alternative, cost effective, mobile distribution channel that supports banking services in traditionally underserved areas, such as townships and rural communities.
In 2012, over 800 000 bank accounts were opened on the mobile devices for the bank’s customers in South Africa, in their areas of residence. It is widely acknowledged that more inclusive financial systems, allowing broader access to financial services, are especially likely to benefit poor people and other disadvantaged groups. Through our offering, we are able to make a meaningful difference to the lives of South Africans.
Standard Bank is the first bank in South Africa to create such this alternative distribution channel. It allows Standard Bank South Africa’s mobile sales agents to open bank accounts in communities in under 10 minutes, with just a hand-held mobile device, a customer’s identification and their proof of residence. Customers can open transactional bank accounts with an active debit card, savings accounts, funeral plans, and even get quotes for a personal loan via a USSD string, without using traditional banking infrastructure. Customers are also registered for cellphone banking immediately.
Such mobile origination is not only more accessible for customers, it is also 80% cheaper than traditional origination. Customers can also transact at over 7 000 Access Points established in communities across the country. The AccessPoint network successfully supports the services offered by the bank, through local traders running small businesses in communities. In 2012, the AccessPoints performed over 19 million banking transactions, including airtime sales.
The unbanked population in South Africa is close on 12.3 million people. Standard Bank South Africa has recognised that traditional retail banking models are unable to serve the low income market, as high cost distribution networks, complex products and high costs to originate accounts result in high price structures. Other concerns are the physical distance of consumers from bank branches, and the additional cost therefore implied in accessing bank infrastructure.