n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - The legal and regulatory framework of mobile payments in South Africa : a trade-off? : analyses

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-0099
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2185



Continuing technological innovation and competition among existing banks and new market entrants has introduced a much wider array of banking products and services for retail and wholesale banking customers. These include traditional activities such as accessing financial information, obtaining loans and opening deposit accounts, as well as relatively new products and services such as electronic account payment services, personalised financial 'portals', account aggregation and business-to-business market exchanges. Mobile banking and, consequently, mobile payments, are the latest in a myriad of emerging technological innovations in the banking industry.

South Africa's is a developing economy, and one of its problems is that of the 'unbanked': a large segment of the population does not have bank accounts, and 'banking' happens through informal means. Yet recent figures show that an increasing number of South Africans have mobile phones. The recent rise in mobile banking, particularly by means of mobile phones, thus has important legal and regulatory implications. In this analysis, I shall examine the legal and regulatory framework of mobile banking, and in particular, mobile payments in South Africa, highlight regulatory gaps and areas for improvement, and suggest a more flexible approach to regulation in South Africa to enhance the development of mobile payments here.

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