Standard Bank in South Africa has just completed moving 3.5 million customers onto a mobile-enabled banking system that now allows a total of 7 million people to quickly bank.
The AccessPoint system allows anyone to register for a Standard Bank account in about ten minutes through street agents in poor townships, malls and other places.
Standard Bank pays AccessAgents a basic wage plus a commission for each customer they sign up.
Because many poor South Africans live in townships or in areas long distances outside cities where they work or where the banks are, many have to pay relatively large sums of money for taxis or shared vans to travel into town to make regular transactions.
The AccessPoint system sees township traders converting their off the shelf payment card point of sale systems into an AccessPoint, where Standard Bank customers can pay cash savings into their account, make cash withdrawals or use their debit card to buy items in store. They can also top up their mobile phones and pay for credit on their electricity accounts.
They get their debit card after signing up to an account on the street, by simply showing an ID card. This gets round the common residency problem that exists in South Africa where locals don't have an official address in townships or any utility bills in their name.
The AccessAgent registers a new customer using a standard mobile phone that runs a SAP mobile app that is connected to the bank's SAP back end servers and SAP CRM platform.
The bank had already quickly signed up 3.5 million customers with this system, before this month migrating another 3.5 million of its other customers onto the SAP AccessPoint system. These customers had other accounts which couldn't use AccessPoint POS terminals.
Those signing up to AccessPoint on the street are also automatically registered for mobile banking if they have a mobile phone.
Traders with AccessPoints are given commission by Standard Bank for enabling banking transactions and selling mobile and electricity top-ups - the bank has its own commercial deals with these providers.
At the moment bank customers can make transactions for free, but it is planned to introduce small fees in the future. Standard Bank doesn't expect this to put many customers off from using the system though, as most would have to go back to paying for taxis or shared vans to travel to use banks in areas where they didn't live.
Audrey Mothupi, Standard Bank head of inclusive banking, said, "We are the first to make banking this easy for many of those who find it difficult to open accounts.
"And we are also putting something back into the communities we operate in as we employ township people as AccessAgents who locals trust."
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