Telkom EasyEquities
(Telkom)
  • Telkom is expanding its mobile finance services and has partnered with the low-cost investment platform EasyEquities.
  • The telecommunications company will relaunch its Digital Wallet service in June following a pilot programme which attracted more than 10,000 users.
  • Telkom Pay Digital Wallet allows users to send and receive money via WhatsApp.
  • But competitors MTN and Vodacom have a head start and have also recently announced improvements to their mobile payment platforms.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

South African telecommunications provider Telkom is looking to compete in the financial services arena after securing 10,000 Digital Wallet subscribers since launching a pilot programme in December 2020. Telkom has now announced a partnership with the fintech investing platform, EasyEquities, which will target Digital Wallet users.

Telkom has been relatively slow to move into the booming fintech market, which has seen mobile competitors expanding and refining competing digital payment systems in South Africa.

MTN’s Mobile Money (MoMo) platform, which allows subscribers to send and receive money via their phones has already attracted more than 2 million subscribers in South Africa alone. The telecommunications giant, which is looking to turn its financial service into a standalone business, has more than 22 million MoMo users across Africa, with Nigeria being its biggest market.

South Africa's largest mobile operator, Vodacom, has amassed more than 42 million active users of its M-Pesa money transfer platform. It’s also due to relaunch its “super app”, VodaPay, in partnership with the Chinese online payment system, Alipay, which already has more than a billion users and the backing of billionaire Jack Ma.

Unlike its competitors, the Telkom Pay Digital Wallet uses WhatsApp to action mobile payments. Users subscribe to the service by messaging the Telkom Pay number which allows them to then buy airtime, data and prepaid electricity using the digital wallet which can be topped up by card or cash. Telkom charges a monthly subscription and transaction fee.

Telkom’s plans to expand its financial services were detailed during its annual results presentation, for the year ending 31 March, on Monday. Although Telkom’s Group revenue only grew by 0.4% to just over R43 billion, its mobile service value jumped by almost 35%.

Telkom’s Yep! service, an online marketplace for goods and services intended to support small to medium-sized enterprises, is used by almost 100,000 business customers every month, according to the company’s results presentation.

The Digital Wallet, which operates within Telkom’s Yep! division, will be relaunched at the beginning of June with EasyEquities being integrated into the platform towards the end of the 2021.

“It’s a commercial partnership where we will allow our customers to have access to EasyEquities suite of investment products via our digital wallet proposition,” Telkom told Business Insider South Africa following Monday’s results presentation.

“We have a digital wallet proposition that we have been piloting with our customers since the beginning of this year and it is going well. This is a wallet where customers can, via a WhatsApp channel, link their bank card to make payments, buy airtime, data, pay bills, buy insurance and invest some money [this will be backed by the Easy Equities offering] and earn some points that can be redeemed on the platform.”

Easy Equities, created in 2014 and now owned by Purple Group Limited, is a low-cost investment platform that allows users to buy and sell shares on the JSE and some global markets.

The platform boomed during lockdown in 2020, almost doubling its active user base to 519,000 accounts and growing Purple Group’s headline earnings by 844%.

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