Back in march when news first broke that ZimSwitch was working with Telecel to power mobile banking for local banks, the two banks that Telecel confirmed they were working with were CABS and POSB. CABS launched its mobile banking service (branded textacash) in September. As for POSB, ZimSwitch told us exactly month ago the bank was in “live pilot”.
Through adverts in the press today, POSB has announced that its mobile banking service is available to the public. Using the service the bank’s customers that have activated the service can pay bills, buy airtime and transfer money to mobile phone subscribers locally amoung other things.
POSB joins a number of banks and mobile operators that have launched mobile banking (and mobile money) services. Econet launched their mobile banking service, EcoCash, at the end of September. Kingdom Bank and Tetrad both launched their mobile banking services at the end of 2010. State mobile operator, NetOne, launched OneWallet early this year. CABS, CBZ Bank and FBC Bank have all launched mobile banking in the last two months.
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But POSB’s entry is of significance. The financial institution is the de facto bank for a lot of rural folk in Zimbabwe owning to its Post and Telecommunications (PTC) roots. The Post Office Savings Bank division of PTC became a separate entity and renamed People’s Own Savings Bank after the unbundling of PTC.
Today, POSB enjoys the postal company’s (Zimpost, another state company unbundled from PTC) vast branch network and is the bank most banked individuals in rural areas bank with already. This should give is some edge over its competition. If it works well enough for those banked individuals in the rural areas, it’s likely to encourage the unbanked to trust it and subscribe.
Still, it’s not like Zimpost is running an exclusive partnership with POSB. Zimpost is an Econet agent. And so is NetOne.