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SAP Technology powers mobile banking for Standard Bank communities

Published by Guardian on Wed, 15 May 2013

STANDARD Bank has introduced the SAP business solutions in bringing banking services closer to the people of Tembisa in South Africa.It introduced AccessBanking as a service to help people in communities apply for a bank account and then use the account. It has used technology from SAP to enable agents to enable customers to set up bank accounts without customers having to travel to a major city.SAP technology is used to enable new accounts to be configured in the field using a mobile handheld device.The township of Tembisa is 20 miles from Johannesburg. People live there because rent is cheap. Many do not have a bank account. Standard Bank wanted to find a way to give residents a bank account, which would not involve having to build a branch.Rather than adapting a traditional banking business model, the bank has rolled out a new approach, which aims to deliver banking directly to the community.According to Managing Director, SAP West Africa, Richard Edet: 'With core banking and mobility solutions from SAP, Standard Bank is using the solutions to offer an innovative mobile banking channel to the country's (South Africa) 10 million unbanked. It is our goal to replicate such success with banks across West Africa and help bridge the enormous unbanked gap.'Standard Bank has introduced 7000 AccessPoints across the country. These allow people to sign up to a new bank account. Local people known as AccessAgents work on commission to sign up new customers. The agents can sell a range of products including Access Home Loans and Access Credit Loan agreements. Customers are automatically registered for mobile phone banking.The setup run by Standard Bank is able to handle setting up bank accounts outside a shopping centre. Some of the agents speak seven languages. The agents aim to educate customers to use cash machines and Internet banking, which lower queues when people do wish to use a branch and improves customer services. Agents are able to sell several products to the customer.The system at Standard Bank supports traditional cashback, where a customer can obtain cash from a retailer as well as mobile phone payment. Here the recipient receives a voucher code via a text message on their mobile phone that allows them to draw money from a cash machine or exchange the voucher for cash at a participating retailer.In April, Standard Bank completed the migration of 3.5 million customers to SAP. The bank is also beginning trials with a tablet for retail. It is planning to build partnerships with food manufacturers to provide volume discounts.Through the system shop owners will be able to order products directly via a tablet. Payment is debited directly from the shopkeeper's business account.
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