South Africa has two new innovative mobile payment systems of its own.

mobile-payments-scad-software-randburg-gautengThe first, called Gust, has quietly been operating since last month and is being used in a closed system to pay for the lunches of MXit cellphone service staff.

The second is FNB’s new GeoPay, an add-on to its smartphone app that lets you pay other app users, of which there are now 160000, direct. It was launched this week.

Both use localised direct payments to transfer money to people in close proximity.

Gust works only in Stellenbosch at a range of restaurants where MXit, like Google, pays for staff lunches. It is in early beta-stage testing and works only on Apple gadgets.

GeoPay works within 500m of other app users on Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Nokia smartphones, and tablets.

The app recognises users nearby and lets you transfer money direct to their phone.

The obvious examples include making payments with the app at a shop or restaurant.

But you can also pay money to friends. Friends who “forget” their wallet when going out of lunch will never have an excuse again, joked FNB’s Farren Roper at the launch.

Mobile money transactions have proved enormously popular. In Kenya, an estimated 40% of the GDP moves around on cellphones. This is in no small part due to the popularity of the ingenious M-Pesa, which has become the gold standard of mobile money.

But the Kenyans are not the only people embracing mobile money.

“Africa is the continent where mobile money is by far the most advanced,” The Economist reported last month.

It cited a survey of 20 countries by the Gates Foundation, the World Bank and Gallup that found that more than “10% of adults said they had used mobile money at some point in the last 12 months”.

Three-quarters of the countries surveyed are in Africa. Traditional banking infrastructure in Africa is notoriously poor and an estimated 80% of adults are unbanked, as the Retail Banking Africa conference was told last year. But these new mobile services are going a long way towards solving this.

Original article courtesy of Timeslive here: Banking and Mobile Cash