Tuesday, May 27, 2008

South African Mobile Banking Initiatives

I am sure that readers of this blog know that I am the founder of leading mobile banking solutions company: Fundamo (www.fundamo.com). But as I mention in the disclaimer of this blog, I write about mobile banking in general and not specifically about Fundamo. Although my experience in deploying mobile banking solutions is with my company, I am frequently exposed to other very exciting initiatives in this space. Growth in the mobile banking industry is a function of more professionals, more solutions and most important more success stories.

For people that follow the industry, I am sure most would agree that solutions and professionals from South Africa are playing important roles in moving the industry forward. The reason for this is not clear to me, but a possible topic for a future blog. All (most) banks in South Africa have launched mobile banking offerings (some on their own, or some deploying packaged solutions). The results of these deployments are often quoted as examples of successful deployments. The most notable success-story here is the results achieved by First National Bank (FNB). One of the mobile operators (MTN) launched a ground-breaking solutions with many world firsts.

What I find most interesting is the number of smaller initiatives. Some that have been around for a relative long time, some dubious in their proposed solutions, but nevertheless even in the entrepreneurial space, South Africa boast numerous initiatives. I think that this is another indication of the soundness of our mobile banking industry. Some of these initiatives are listed below:

Wizzit (
www.wizzit.co.za) is probably the best-known deployment with exposure in CNN and with the CEO (Brian Richardson) speaking on many platforms. Their distribution strategy and exciting brand serve as an inspiration to many. Then the claims of Cobus Potgieter with his Mopay (www.mopay.co.za) initiative raises doubt in many industry players, but still he soldiers on. WiWallet (www.wiwallet.co.za), and VMT (www.virtualmobiletech.com) are two new kids on the block with exciting and innovative offerings. The two independents Paym8 (www.paym8.co.za) (out of the Radiospoor stable) and Simplus (www.simplus.co.za)(out of the Cointel stable) have been around for some time now. I am not sure if the inventors of First Wireless from the Paarl have run out of steam, but their website is still up (www.1stwireless.co.za). Then the of course, the experienced guys at Mobus (www.mobux.net), with the Pretoria team from Swap Mobile (www.swapmobile.co.za) not to be forgotten. I have probably left out some guys, but you know what, I would love to hear from you.

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