FNB said R21 billion worth of money had been sent via its eWallet platform in the 12 months to June 2018, up 41 percent from the previous year. Picture: Bloomberg

JOHANNESBURG - Banking group FNB said on Wednesday R21 billion worth of money had been sent via its eWallet platform in the 12 months to June 2018, up 41 percent from the previous year.

FNB said this was generated from 6.1 million active wallets, of which nearly 2 million were regular users, demonstrating the important gap eWallet has bridged for consumers who may have found it as an alternative to traditional low-cost accounts offered by banks.

“Our analysis of regular eWallet users has shown that there’s still a gap in the market when it comes to solving the banking needs of unbanked and underbanked consumers," said Pieter Woodhatch, CEO of FNB's Easy sub-segment.

"While traditional bank accounts are very important for people with debit orders and a range of other complex needs, simpler solutions are vital for consumers who have minimal transactional requirements."

FNB said it expected its recently introduced mobile bank account, eWallet eXtra, to further contribute to narrowing the gap in financial inclusion. eWallet eXtra is fully digital and can be opened and operated from any cellphone, and has no monthly fees.

“While smartphone penetration continues to grow, the reality is that any efforts to broaden financial inclusion have to enable consumers who use feature phones. This is why we believe that the flexibility of a mobile bank account like eWallet eXtra is vital,” said Woodhatch.

- African News Agency (ANA)