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Cell phone banking comes of age

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The penetration of cell phone banking in South Africa has more than doubled this year, with almost one-fifth of South Africans now using their phones to perform some banking functions. 

This is one of the key finding of the Mobility 2007 research conducted by World Wide Worx, which found that 17% of respondents used their cell phones for banking services in 2007, compared to 8% in 2006.
Importantly, 24% say they are planning to use cell phone banking next year.
Len Pienaar, head of mobile & transact solutions at FNB, says the bank's own findings show similar groth patterns nationally.
"It's been many years in the making, but we finally see evidence of cell phone banking maturing in the South African market. Acceptance of the channel across all market segments is significant and accelerating.
"In the mainstream market, in particular, the latest figures illustrate that it is now the most used electronic banking channel among FNB customers."
Internestingly, the likelihood of using cell phone banking increases with age. "Urban cell phone users aged from 45 to 55 years are twice as likely to use cell phones for banking as those on the 19 20 24 age group," says Peter Searll, CEO of Dashboard Research.
"This may be sounter-intuitive, until one considers that more economically able consumers would be more likely to embrance more forms of financial services. This is backed up by the fact that, after 55, more people are less likely to use cell phone banking."
Gauteng residents are most likely to use cell phone banking and most likely to take it up in the future. Cell phone banking is currently dominated by men, with 20% of male respondents having used the channel versus 15% of female.
Mobile commerce has also increased significantly, from 7% last year to 12% this year, although most of these are for pre-paid airtime as opposed to product or service payments.
However, 58% of respondents are aware of making payments via cell phone, compared to only 32% in 2006.