Pick n Pay and MTN have announced a new partnership which will bring free money transfers and simple, low-cost banking to millions of South African consumers, primarily benefiting those who are currently excluded from the formal banking system.

By signing up to a new Pick n Pay SIM card, powered by MTN, and registering for Mobile Money customers will be able to access their accounts easily, conveniently, securely and cheaply from their mobile phones.

The new SIM card will also reward customers with an additional 10% airtime when they top-up at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores – so when they purchase R80 MTN airtime at any PnP or Boxer store and automatically receive R88 when loaded on to the new SIM card.

Consumers can take up the free money transfer service by opening a Mobile Money account on the new SIM at no cost. The account attracts no monthly or annual account fees. Registration is free and available to all South African citizens 16 years and older. Consumers are also able upgrade their Mobile Money accounts in Pick n Pay and Boxer stores.

In November 2012, MTN and Pick n Pay launched Mobile Money in partnership with The South African Bank of Athens – an innovative, purely mobile driven money transfer system providing customers with the cheapest way to transfer money securely, and to buy goods in Pick n Pay and Boxer stores without needing cash or a debit card. Since 2012, almost 2 million customers have used Mobile Money.

With the introduction of free money transfers (free deposits and withdrawals in store), and the launch of the Visa Mobile Money Debit Card , Pick n Pay and MTN are giving Mobile Money customers even greater value. Customers can also use their accounts to pay municipal bills, purchase prepaid electricity and airtime. Salaries can be deposited into the account, and there is no minimum balance requirement.

Opening or upgrading a Mobile Money account on any mobile phone in a Pick n Pay or Boxer store has specifically been designed to be simple, easy and convenient.

Richard van Rensberg, deputy CEO of Pick n Pay, comments: “Pick n Pay has long been the consumer’s champion, and this latest partnership with MTN challenges the status quo by giving customers another first for the country – a safe and secure way to transfer money at no cost and to enjoy free banking services in-store.

“We believe the Mobile Money account will be a game-changer in bringing the benefits of secure, convenient and affordable banking to millions of people who are currently excluded from the formal financial system and who face prohibitively high transaction costs.”

MTN CEO Zunaid Bubulia says: “Improved financial inclusion is widely recognised as a key component in driving inclusive national growth, an imperative for the South African economy. The Mobile Money innovations, including the first free money transfer service, is part of our continued commitment to revolutionise banking and drive economic inclusion, and we look forward to its take up by South Africans.”