FNB announced a new product and what appears to be a first of its kind, a mobile bank about with no monthly fees, called eWallet eXtra, at a media event in Johannesburg this morning. Anyone with a cellphone, i.e. both feature phones and smartphones can open an account without the need to step into a branch. All that is required is a name, surname, and ID number; it is completely paperless. No documents for FICA are required.

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The bank says it is targeting “unbanked” and “underbanked” South African consumers, after conducting studies at townships in the Western Cape over a four year period. The solution will be available by June 2018. Deposits are limited to a maximum of R14 000 a month; with a daily limit of R3000 a day and R24 000 in a month.

“This is a simple, accessible and cost effective solution. If you are above the age of 16 and own a cellphone, you’ll be able to get a mobile bank account with a unique account number in less than three minutes, and you don’t need a bank card to transact.”

Gugu Zikhali, FNB Head of Transaction Products: Mass Market

Account holders will be able to send and receive deposits from other banks or individuals; pay accounts; buy prepaid electricity or data; and withdraw cash from FNB ATMs, till points, at participating Spar stores. They can also view balances and transaction history, however, no debit order functionality will be available on the account. For security, account holders will require a PIN code to access their account. PayPal payments will not be accepted into the account at present.

As expected, there’s always something in it for FNB Connect SIM card users, who will be able to access their accounts at no cost, as no airtime will be required.

eWallet eXtra is only available to South Africans with an ID number, and not foreign nationals.

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