FNB cellphone banking for Zambia

Digital Content

First National Bank (FNB) is taking advantage of the growth of cellphone banking across the continent and has introduced the service for its clients in Zambia. In line with trends where cellphone banking has overtaken banking on PCs, the bank will give clients the ability to access their accounts through their phones. Options will include prepaid purchases on the Zain network, the viewing of account balances and the ability to make payments to customers using other banks.

FNB says cellphone banking has already proven a success in a number of countries across Africa, including SA, Botswana and Namibia. In SA, at least 4.4 million people are using cellphone banking, while 1.5 million of these users are registered with FNB.

“Millions of Zambians are already familiar with the use of the cellphone; our objective is to familiarise the market to do banking using this tool, and we trust the uptake in Zambia will be a success,” says Richard Hudson, CEO of FNB Zambia.

The results of analyst firm World Wide Worx's Mobility 2009 report support the increasing adoption of mobile as a banking channel. The findings state cellphone banking has already overtaken banking on PCs in SA, and that more than a quarter of bank customers are turning to their cellphones for services ranging from informational transaction types such as balance enquiries, to financial transaction types which include account payments.

Other banks are also cashing in. Absa mobile banking is also looking to innovate in the mobile payment space and has invested R12 million in a training initiative to drive awareness of mobile banking in rural areas.

According to Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO of cellphone banking from FNB, banking in the rest of Africa has traditionally not been innovative or cost-effective, and this is something which cellphone banking could help address.

“FNB's objective is to address these traditional barriers in banking in order to promote the use of a convenient, innovative low-cost medium of banking for people from all walks of life,” says Ramlakan.

The bank says its offering will be across commercial banking and personal banking. Clients will also have the option of the inContact service, which allows customers to receive immediate messages or e-mails updating them of financial activities on their accounts.

“The channel is designed to provide customers with convenient and accessible banking solutions, and we are very pleased that Zambia will reap the benefits of FNB's innovative thinking,” says Hudson.