Digital money transfers are becoming South Africa’s favourite way of transferring cash across the country with volumes climbing at the end of each month, during long weekends, school holidays and during traditional peak holiday seasons.

Standard Bank offers the Instant Money transfer service at more than 6 500 access points across the country.

Nelisa Zulu, Standard Bank head of merchant solutions, attributes the growth in money transfer transactions to the fact that South Africans, including those without formal bank accounts, are becoming comfortable with digital banking services.

Month-on-month, Standard Bank is seeing 70 000 new customers using the Instant Money service.

“We are finding that Instant Money is particularly popular with people living in the cities who wish to transfer money to family members in rural areas. The fact that the money sent can be collected at Standard Bank ATMs or other designated collection points within most communities makes it more convenient than other forms of payment in the country which take time to be complete,” says Zulu.

Transaction volumes on the Standard Bank Mobile App continue to grow more than 70% year-on-year, with average user transaction values having increased from under R500 to over R700 in the last few years. This makes Instant Money one of the most convenient and safe ways to send money. Holiday periods like Easter and Christmas holidays sees an increase in value and volumes of Instant Money transactions, with KZN and the Eastern Cape being the biggest recipients of Instant Money vouchers.

Instant Money enables customers to transfer money safely and conveniently at a fraction of the cost. Average costs are between R9.95 and R12.50 per transaction, with no fee to the beneficiary. More than R60-billion has been processed since the inception of Instant Money.

Zulu says: “We are also seeing a big increase in Instant Money for Businesses with annual growth of over 100%. Bulk Instant Money allows businesses of any size to disburse funds through the Instant Money platform to any person in real time. Recipients don’t need a bank account and can collect their funds at a date and time of their convenience. We have examples where businesses had payment challenges and, at short notice, had to pay more than 2 000 employees. Instant Money Bulk payments were utilised to facilitate this transfer of funds.”

The flexibility of the Instant Money service is also an advantage. It offers benefits which include:

* Providing cash to people who are ‘unbanked’ and need money for their daily activities;

* Having instant access to cash when there is an emergency;

* Being able to make payments to people without knowing their banking details; and

* Distance is not a factor which influences payment reliability.