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In Africa, 25% of the population is unbanked for various reasons, including a lack of stable income, difficulty accessing relevant institutions or a mistrust of such companies.

Banks are keen to serve their specific needs – not simply for savings, loans, transactions and investments but also for flexibility in repayment schedules, simplicity and speed of processing and small product sizes – but cannot do so profitably in the existing banking environment.

It is estimated that the equivalent of €1.2bn in cash is currently held in the region outside accounts. This represents an enormous opportunity for banks to be more innovative in devising products that simplify access and help to promote inclusive growth.

"Traditional banking remains out of reach for many in South Africa due to factors such as logistics, cost and lack of financial literacy and compatible products, so mobile devices offer rich potential to deliver financial services to the under-served population." Andy Higgins,

Innovation Champion, Head of Pre-Sales, Africa, Vodafone Global Enterprise

Vodafone Global Enterprise addressed this issue with the following solution:

Tablet Banking

Previously, in order to sign up customers, the bank’s staff were providing a nomadic service in the bush, equipped with laptops, printers, spare batteries and stationery. In order to set up a new account, they would have to collect and copy identification and generate printed documents – hardly practical given the environment.

This was replaced with an end-end managed tablet service, enabling the staff to sign up customers via an app on the tablet.

Mobile payments

We are in the process of developing a Mobile Wallet concept that enables consumers to make payments and withdrawals and transfer funds. The Mobile Wallet will play a significant role in the quest to provide banking-like services to those still outside the banking system, and is relatively straightforward and cost-effective to deploy for organisations. For end users, the Mobile Wallet proposition meets the needs of those who don’t have a bank account, enabling remittance services locally and from abroad via their mobile.

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