First National Bank (FNB) cellphone banking hit record levels during the festive season, with R1-billion worth of banking conducted in 10-million transactions – exceeding the previous year’s cellphone banking use by more than 100%.

"Cellphone banking has truly come of age in South Africa and is now becoming the preferred choice of banking," says Len Pienaar, CEO of FNB mCommerce. "The high adoption rates we've experienced show that it's a trusted and convenient channel for customers to perform a wide range of transactions from checking balances to buying prepaid airtime and Lotto tickets or paying bills."
In November 2009 FNB introduced Send Money – a solution allowing FNB customers to instantly transfer money to anyone with a South African cellphone number. The value of transactions on Send Money reached R6-million in December alone.
The purchases of Lotto tickets has also been popular, with more than 150 000 tickets sold in December.
"Although we have seen our growth primarily coming from our mainstream customers during 2009, December has seen a strong usage from our traditional and more affluent customers," says Pienaar. "This is typical for December as these customers are away from home and work and don’t have access to their traditional banking channels.  Cellphone Banking then becomes the preferred alternative."