Spotlight: TYME Mobile Bank

TYME is working in South Africa to provide an estimated 50 per cent of the countrys population that doesn’t have a bank account with a means to save money and make payments.

It is a mobile-only bank available to anyone over 16 with a South African mobile phone number. Like rival mobile money service M-Pesa, people have to go to designated stores to deposit and withdraw cash, using their PIN number and secure SMS to validate transactions. All people need is the persons phone number to send money peer-to-peer, with the recipient prompted to sign up to receive the money if they dont already have an account. TYME accounts have a balance limit as well as monthly and daily spend limits.

The TYME service was launched last year by South Africa’s MTN operator. M-Pesa, now owned by Vodacom, launched in South Africa in 2010 but has struggled to mirror the success it has had in places like Kenya. However, M-Pesa is still considered one of the most advanced mobile payments services in the world.

“We started in our home country of South Africa because it has one of the strictest regulatory environments in the world,” said Rolf Eichweber, director and COO of TYME. “If we can make a business as innovative as ours work in South Africa, we can make it work anywhere. Our next market is Namibia.  It’s a small country, and for us that makes it a great candidate for international deployment, and also gives us a great opportunity to empower Namibians, many of whom don’t hold traditional bank accounts.”