There is no place in the world where FinTech is not booming these days. Some of those locations may be a bit further away than people would anticipate, but that doesn’t make them less valuable. WeChat is launching a new mobile wallet service in South Africa, targeting a part of the world where financial services are direly needed.
WeChat Ventures Into South African Mobile Payment Space
Most people will know the name WeChat as being one of the most popular social messaging apps in China and surrounding countries. Originally developed by Tencent, WeChat has become so much more in recent years, although the social messaging aspect is what made this brand so valuable over the past few years.
But even businesses like WeChat and Tencent have to keep adapting their strategies moving forward, as the mobile market can be approached from different angles. Just recently, WeChat partnered with Western Union to offer remittance service to US users of the application, which just goes to show how mobile and payments are coming together on a daily basis.
By partnering with Standard Bank in South Africa, WeChat can now offer a mobile wallet service in the country. The WeChat Wallet will support up to three chip and PIN debit – or credit – cards, which can be used to top up the app’s cash balance. That balance can then be used for paying food, electricity, airtime, and even SnapScan merchants.
Furthermore, WeChat Wallet users in South Africa will have the option to send funds to friends, without either party needing a bank account to do so. As part of the partnership with Standard Bank, WeChat Wallet users are able to cash out balances at the bank’s ATMs, as well as through participating retailers Spar and Cambridge Food Stores.
Kheta Mazibuko of Standard Bank commented as follows:
“This service is just another way that Standard Bank is making banking a seamless part of our customers’ daily lives. Not only does it give customers the freedom to choose how they stay in control of their finances, it provides them with peace of mind knowing that they can do so safely and securely, with the backing of a banking brand that is committed to being always on and available to them 24/7.”
By merging the online and offline worlds, FinTech is providing people with financial tools embedded into single everyday-use mobile applications. Users won’t even have to leave the application ecosystem to send or receive payments, making it far more convenient compared to the traditional financial ecosystem.
Tencent is pushing hard to make WeChat the go-to mobile application for all kinds of needs, ranging from social messaging to financial tools. Even though the WeChat Wallet was previously “restricted” to Chinese consumers, Tencent is now looking to bring this service to its more than 100 million WeChat users living abroad.
What are your thoughts on Tencent partnering with Standard Bank in South Africa? Let us know in the comments below!
Header image courtesy of WeChat