Cell phones plug Africa’s poor into mobile banking
November 1st, 2005

Mobile technology has already revolutionized communications in the world’s poorest continent, bringing phones to millions of poor and isolated people who had never before made a call, reports Reuters.

“… Open to anyone with a phone, mobile banking has proved a hit with people such as Mpanza in South Africa’s townships and villages, and looks set to spread quickly across Africa.

Account holders use text messages, or SMS, to pay for goods, transfer money to friends and family and top up the credit on their pre-pay phones. Bosses can pay salaries direct into cellular accounts and customers can deposit cash at Post Offices and some bank branches.

It’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s unintimidating,” said Jenny Hoffmann, head of MTN Banking, which launched the service earlier this year. “And if you live on a hill in (rural Africa) you don’t have to go to town to make a payment.”

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