Johannesburg - Mobile instant messaging and social network group MXit will offer its 10 million active users a mobile payment service through an exclusive agreement with wiWallet, a subsidiary of UCS Group [JSE:UCS].
UCS is a provider of retail software in SA, where it services 95% of SA's top retailers.
MXit aims to provide this service in SA within the second quarter of 2011.
Herman Heunis, founder and CEO of Mxit, has set an ambitious target of achieving the same success as M-Pesa in Kenya, which has exceeded 11 million customers.
"If I look at M-Pesa in Kenya, which has set a benchmark in terms of success criteria, I'm confident that we have a good chance of achieving the same success," said Heunis.
"MXit was one of the first mobile IMs, if not the first, in the world to create a virtual voucher economy for our users as early as 2005, purely based on premium-rated SMS; but, due to operator costs, we were limited to selling small value items only, such as wallpapers, skinz and other virtual goods," he said.
Heunis said the plan was not to replace its existing Moola payment platform, as it was geared to handle millions of micro-payments daily. Rather, the aim was to complement it with the wiWallet mobile payment gateway and voucher system. This would enable users to purchase more costly items such as airtime, electricity, music and games as well as make in-store purchases in the hospitality and fast moving consumer goods market.
"Our intention is to keep the cost to our users as low as possible and to seamlessly integrate the wiWallet payment gateway into the MXit application to make payments and transfers of vouchers very simple," he said.
Dean Sparrow, deputy CEO of the UCS Group, said: "We saw a unique opportunity, dating back to 2006, to build technology that would seamlessly facilitate the offering of value-added services for the retailer to their consumers."