What Innovation Will Follow CellPhone Banking?

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Banking has entered a new era with the introduction of CellPhone Banking, which was launched yesterday in Windhoek. Bank Windhoek clients with Cheque, EasySave or Transaction accounts, who have mobile telephones can register to access the service through which one can pay their bills, transfer money to family and friends, enquire about their balances, get a mini statement and top up airtime wherever there is MTC network. The new initiative was developed by Bank Windhoek in partnership with MTC and their technology partner Cointel and was partly funded by the British Government’s Financial Deepening Challenge Fund. The bank feels the move will enable it to provide accessible and affordable banking services to Namibia because the service does not require registration and monthly service fees. Other free services, although a 15 percent VAT and MTC call charges will apply where applicable, include balance inquiry, mini statement and PIN change. MTC prepaid top-up and MTC contract payments will cost N$1.15, funds transfer to a Bank Windhoek account will cost N$2.15 while funds transfer to any pre registered bank account or all banks will cost N$4.45. Cellphone banking is compatible with all cellphone types and allows clients to do banking even when roaming in South Africa. Launching the service yesterday, Bank Windhoek’s Managing Director James Hill said he was proud of his bank’s localized technological infrastructure which not only enables the bank to deliver solutions that meet the needs of its clients but also to offer the clients world-class banking products and services. MTC’s Managing Director, Jose Ferreira, said at the launch that based on the mobile company’s 95 percent of the Namibian population and 67 percent coverage of landmass, banking services would now be accessible where people are. “We have made the investment and welcome all our competitors to join us in banking the under-banked and all those who will have access to the traditional brick and mortar banking infrastructure of the past,” Ferrerira said. CellPhone Banking is available in two options, namely limited and full access. Limited access allows a client to have access to balance inquiries, and small top-s to one’s Tango prepaid package, which is limited to N$200 per month. Full access, however, allows a client to full Cellphone Banking features which include balance inquiries, mini statements, funds transfer to other bank accounts and top-ups of MTC accounts and Tango prepaid package.