Rehoboth Sign-Up to Cellphone Banking Pre-Paid Electricity

1 July 2013

First National Bank (FNB) has partnered with the Rehoboth Town Council to sell pre-paid electricity to Rehoboth residents via FNB's cellphone banking service.

Rehoboth is the latest town to make use of this service, which is already available for residents in the Erongo Region, northern residents, as well as for the customers of the City of Windhoek. FNB customers in those areas are able to purchase pre-paid electricity via the FNB cellphone banking channel.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Rehoboth Town Council Theo Jankowski said consumers have, over the years, made cellphones their preferred mobile devices. "Like automated teller machines (ATMs) and online banking services, cellphones are giving consumers more options. By being able to access account information and perform transactions without requiring access to bank branches, ATMs, or computers, consumers are able to 'bank' wherever and whenever they want, and they are learning to expect such convenience," said Jankowski.

Dixon Norval, Head of Strategic Marketing and Communications at FNB Namibia said with this innovative service there is no longer a need to pay taxi fees or take off from work to top-up on pre-paid electricity. "No need to buy pre-paid electricity in bulk or panic over weekends because you are running out of electricity," he said.

Norval explained that the innovation is also in response to the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Namibia's call for greater financial inclusion. Financial inclusion is defined as the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society that have often been excluded from such services in the past. "It is argued that as banking services are in the interest of the public good, it is essential that availability of banking and payment services should be accessible to the entire population," said Norval.

Norval also added that this innovation has numerous benefits for individuals, including the fact that it was definitely much more convenient, affordable and safer for FNB customers as they could now purchase prepaid electricity from the safety and security of their own homes.

Jankowski applauded FNB for their considerate efforts to truly care for their collective customers, especially the people of Rehoboth. "This gesture by FNB Namibia has provoked behaviour that translates into greater loyalty, and, eventually, stronger banking relationships. It is believed that mobile banking will surpass online banking as the most widely used banking channel by 2030, if not sooner. And, as mobile banking grows, so, too, will opportunities for banks to increase revenues and gain operating efficiencies," he said.

FNB Namibia, some time back started to introduce more affordable self-service banking channels where there is less costly human intervention and a lower requirement for expensive infrastructure. Besides the fact that the savings brought about by this approach is passed on to clients, it also gives wider access as clients no longer have to go to their bank for many services. Many such services have been introduced, such debit payment cards, ATMs, point-of-sale devices, Online Banking and cellphone banking. It has become affordable and possible for any person who can afford a cellphone to have and operate a bank account. Cellphone banking at FNB Namibia was launched in 2006.

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Categories: Energy, ICT

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