There is a crop of new banking solutions for the "unbanked" such as FNB's eWallet Extra, Shoprite's Mobile money, and Nedbank's Mobi money. All of these are marketed as easy to join, use and also quite cheap. All you need to join is a cell phone number and an SA ID number.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you... Shoprite does banking now. This should not come as a surprise since their money transfers thing has really grown in the past few years. Even Pick 'n Pay has something similar now. I guess it does makes sense for them to move in this direction since South African households spend 13,75% of their income on groceries.
To start this investigation we will use the Five W's, more on them here.
Shoprite, the biggest retailer in South Africa.
A new mobile transactional banking service.
On your cell phone, irrespective of mobile network, device or connectivity.
Anywhere, where you can find a cell phone signal.
To create easier access to banking services.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way let's jump straight into it... For this investigation, I used a Vodafone VFD 300. It's a low-cost Android phone that retails for R399, It runs on Android Marshmallow and is surprisingly good for the price you pay. The main reason I decided to use this cell phone is that it better represents the kind of cellphone, that the target market is likely to use.
I started by 'Googling' Shoprite Money, The first two results were not relevant to what I was looking for (If you are good with SEO, hala at Mr Basson!). The third result linked me to an article on the Shoprite website that explains how this service works and a few of its features... Check it out here
If you are not as lazy as I usually am and you clicked through the article, you probably feel like you need more information, I felt the same way. So I crawled through the site and clicked on 'Money Market Services'. That led me to a page with a banner that summarises the article I just read. 🤦🏽
So I decided to just wing it! The article said I could register by just dialling a USSD code...
I dialled the USSD code and I was given five options ranging from help to more information. I was more interested in the first option 'register'. I must say this is one of the better USSD implementations I've dealt with.
It even has a progress indicator and I am informed that registration will take 8 steps... I'll list them for you
Step 1 - Enter your ID number... Simple enough.
Step 2 - View T's & C's...They don't actually list the T's & C's, they give you an option of going to the store or viewing an unclickable web link (That's a USSD constraint, I'll give them a pass). However, there is no way of viewing the T's & C's without abandoning the registration process.
Step 3 - Create a Pin... All good here!
Step 4 - Confirm your pin... Standard Procedure.
Step 5 - Marketing Consent, if you don't want to be informed every time Shoprite launches a new product say no.
Step 6 - Verify your first name... you are given three names and you have to choose which one belongs to you, I think it's meant to verify identity. But if you have someone's ID number you most probably know their name.
Step 7 - Verify your birth month... Again, this is meant to verify your identity, do I even have to say why this is not secure?
Step 8 - Verify your first name... you are given three names and you have to choose which one belongs to you, in my opinion, this is the most secure of their verification methods. I mean not a lot of people know my second name. I have a few suggestions on how it can be made even more secure but for that Shoprite would have to pay me *evil laugh*
I kept on getting a timeout message when I reached the last step, it could be a network problem... For Shoprite's sake let's hope it is.
I eventually got set up... There is no welcome SMS though... Shame on you Shoprite!
I redialed the USSD and I was prompted to enter my pin... When I landed on the menu I had 5 options.
Send Money... Self Explanatory
Cash Out... This sounds like something out of a hip-hop song but I totally get what they mean.
Load Cash... Self Explanatory
Buy Shopping... I'm so-so on this one
Buy Airtime... Self Explanatory
More... Under this menu option you can: Buy electricity, view account history & settings and also get help.
That about covers it for the Onboarding process... For part two We'll dive into actually using the account from buying groceries to "cashing out" 🤣
That's all for now, folks!
Part 2 coming soon...