08 May 2009

Cellphone payment system is at least 10 times cheaper than bank charges

Submitted by Leila Beltramo
{pp}POCit is also safer than any other way of paying money.
A major challenge comes to South Africa’s high bank charges – the most expensive in the world according to the Competition Commission - with new mobile payment solution, POCit.
Payments by POCit are just 30c each compared to a minimum of R2 for internet banking and at least R5 to draw cash from an ATM or around R7 to draw cash from a teller in a bank. And at a time where hacking into internet bank accounts has become a major problem, as well as credit card skimming, ATM bombings and frauds, cellphone payments are the safest of any with no evidence of any cellphone in the world being hacked into and leading to mobile banking fraud according to Vodacom.

The SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said “bank related internet-based crime is being regarded as the fastest growing form of crime globally.” POCit is used by those who have cheque and credit cards. In South Africa there are more than 6,5m credit cards in circulation and in 2007 consumers spent R10,84 billion on them according to the SA Payment Association – far more than the R6,87 billion withdrawn from ATMs in the same year. David Reynders, managing director of POCit said, “POCit has the widest reach yet of the 12 mobile payment systems available in South Africa. “POCit can send or receive money from any bank, all the payer needs is your cellphone number.

POCit, a uniquely South African system, also does not require special SIM cards as some do.” Healthbridge is the biggest and most trusted medical claims payment system in South Africa. Every medical aid, all private hospitals and most doctors trust sensitive patient and payment information with them. Healthbridge has saved its clients including Discovery Health, Life Healthcare, Medi-clinic, Medscheme and Netcare half a billion rand, which it is estimated ensured a one percent saving in medical aid costs. Reynders said: “Healthbridge has a payment solution called MyPractice which 5 500 doctors subscribe to and in the last few months we have given patients the option to pay by POCit.” POCit is backed by Capitec Bank, the fastest growing bank in South Africa. Capitec released figures showing that it’s active client base grew 33% to end August 2008 and headline earnings increased by 22.7% to R119 million. Reynders forecasts that 2009 will see rapid growth in mobile payments.

“South African consumers have not yet adopted cellphone payments as eagerly as they have in Asia or even the United States, where Bank of America alone has 21m clients making payments, checking account balances and transferring money with their cellphones. “Once you use a system as secure and as easy as POCit, everything else seems slow and inconvenient. It’s like the difference between a steam train and the Concorde. “Mobile payments are possibly the biggest advance in money use ever. It will have a far greater impact than credit cards which were introduced in the 1950s and are still an elite item; it’s bigger even than the ATM revolution of the 1980s. Mobile payments offer cheaper and more extensive payment options and open the possibility of the currently unbanked gaining access to the financial system.”

In 2006 alone, 150 million migrants worldwide sent US$300 billion to their families in developing countries through more than 1.5 billion financial transactions, most of which bypassed banks according to the United Nations. “Millions of people in South Africa, foreigners and local move money informally through taxidrivers. Mobile payments will change that,” Reynders said. He pointed out that while internet banking was common for the elite – the minority with computer access and ADSL or wireless - a large percentage of internet users still only have dial-up. Cellphone payments are more convenient and much cheaper than internet banking. The United Nations International Telecommunication Union says Africa had 65 million new mobile telephone subscribers in 2007. Cellphone penetration rose from one in 50 people in 2000 to a third of all Africans population today.

Walter Volker of PASA says that mobile banking will become the easiest way to pay. In 2007 there were 27 951 541 internet payments worth R41,98 billion according to PASA, and 24,3m ATM withdrawals worth R6,8bn. Reynders said, “Consumers will find that POCit is the fastest, cheapest and most secure way to pay anyone. Even if you lose your cellphone, no one can log into POCit without your pin. The current financial meltdown in global markets has underscored the need for change – we’re proud to be part of the solution.”

Contact information:
David Reynders
Managing Director POCit
(language: English)
tel: +27 11 575 1025
fax: +27 11 576 1025
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CEO TradeBridge
(holding company for POCit)
(languages: Afrikaans & English)
e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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011 646 7637

Charlene Smith Communications (Pty)Ltd
Contact: Leila Beltramo
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Tel: 021 762 2656