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Mobicash and Bhartiya Mahila Bank partner for open loop prepaid wallet


Grants/Financial Aids/Social Benefits


The CASH delivery literally pulls recipients to a particular place at a particular time where they are handed the full sum of their grant in cash. Not surprisingly, this method is most commonly in use in developing countries where bank accounts are not accessible or affordable for small balance holders, and where there are few or no accessible points at which cash may be accessed and accounts serviced. These points of service may be termed the local financial infrastructure. However, the cash approach has drawbacks, such as:

  • the cost to the recipient of getting to the paypoint on a particular day, in  both money and time;
  • the crowding at paypoints on paydays;
  • the risk of theft of an entire transfer payment right after receipt;
  • the risk of carrying large quantities of cash to known paypoints on known dates.

‘MobiGrant’ approaches to the payment of social transfers involve the use of a payment instrument such as a bank account or stored value card, which itself integrates the user/recipient into the financial system. Rather than simply being paid out in full each time, the recipient can decide when and how much of her or his regular grant to withdraw in cash, and how much to leave as savings. As a result of having the account, she or he is more likely to be offered other financial services, since the installments for these services can be collected cost effectively from the account in electronic format; and since the electronic record of cash flows through the bank account could be the basis of assessing credit worthiness.

The ultimate vision of MobiGrant is that all recipients have a basic transaction account, which is credited monthly. At no or low cost, they can withdraw cash from their account at accessible locations; and they are offered a range of suitable additional micro financial services, such as savings, insurance and credit facilities.

The objectives attainable by MobiGrant will include:

  • 1. Minimizing the cost—but to whom? In addition to SASSA, the recipient will also save in costs (in time and possibly, transport cost) as a result of the MobiGrant payment option;
  • 2. Minimizing the risks involved—again whether to SASSA (e.g. loss through fraud and corruption) or to the recipient (e.g. loss through robbery as the result of payment of cash in a known location at a regular time);
  • 3. Maximizing the dignity of the recipient (e.g. through considering the facilities available in the places of payment—if long waits are involved, are the facilities adequate to provide toilets and shelter from harsh weather?)
  • 4. Reducing time to implement at the outset;
  • 5. Enhancing the ability to scale up (for example, if it is expected that the scheme will roll out over time to new areas or categories of beneficiary)
  • 6. Providing additional financial services to the beneficiary (e.g. the opportunity to save a portion of the grant, or access certain types of credit when needed);
  • 7. Providing opportunities for non-beneficiaries to improve their access to financial services.
  • 8. Developing new bank account products. A transactional bank account suitable for social transfer recipients would usually need to have features such as:
  • No minimum balance required to keep the account open;
  • No initial fee and low or no monthly charges (which would deplete small savings balances remaining);
  • The ability to receive (and preferably make) other transfers electronically, such as person to person remittances (which are often an important part of poor household income).

Benefits of MobiGrant

  • Beneficiaries to be paid any day of the month, anywhere and anytime
  • Beneficiaries are paid in humane and dignified conditions;
  • Confidentiality of the grant beneficiary data;
  • Fraud eradication in the payment of the social assistance;
  • Reduction in litigation by potential beneficiaries;
  • Instant availability of the funds to recipient.

These are features which are likely to be appealing not only to transfer recipients but also to low income people in general.

To reduce the costs of financial infrastructure, it is necessary to piggy back on other cash handling businesses, such as local merchants who already have cash in their tills. The point of sale technology necessary to enable financial transactions such as withdrawals from bank accounts is much cheaper to deploy than, say, ATM technology but the result is similar: the merchant becomes a manned ATM. In addition, such an arrangement may bring additional benefits to a merchant such as:

  • Reducing the amount of cash held in the till, which may be stolen;
  • Greater spend in the store by those who withdraw cash there;
  • Receiving some fee income on the transaction.

Banking by MobiGrant also holds the prospect of reducing these costs further, since the phone itself may function as a kind of point of sale device for initiating financial transactions. By using the mobile phone to transfer money to a merchant with a cell phone registered for the service, a customer may be enabled to get cash back without the merchant needing to buy or lease a separate point of sale device. This approach clearly has great potential: additional fixed costs at merchant level are removed, making it more viable for more and smaller merchants; and cell phone usage even among the poor is clearly growing. Today, in South Africa, 35% of grant recipients report access to a mobile phone.

The development of new, cheaper financial infrastructure carries widespread potential benefits therefore:

  • For beneficiaries, who can have convenient access to cash;
  • For non-beneficiaries who may also use the infrastructure for transactions including remittances;
  • For local merchants who may generate additional fee income or sales revenue; and
  • For the merchant’s bank, which may profit from the relationship; and even
  • For the grant agency, since the cost of paying a transfer will decrease compared with cash transfer.


NSDT Technology

The secure authentication and payment validation technology underlying MobiGrant called NSDTTM. NSDTTM uses the mobile phone’s audio channel to transmit secure information used to electronically sign transactions.

Transactions are securely signed with NSDT™ (Near Sound Data Transfer), a technology that sends “cryptosounds” through the phone’s audio channel to enable contact-less mobile payment.

With MobiGrant, every phone represents a payment account. Any existing phone can be used to make a MobiGrant transaction. Your money is protected by your mobile phone, your MobiGrant pin code and NSDT™ technology.

All phones can make payments using MobiGrant no matter what phone model or network operator. You do not need to modify your phone in order to use MobiGrant.


  • The MobiGrant Engine provides: Security, Verification, Fraud Control, and a Complete ‘Transaction Audit Trail’;
  • The MobiGrant Engine provides Solutions for Mobile Banking, Micro Finance, Money Transmission, Loyalty, Rewards, Social Networking, Electronic Voucher Distribution;
  • MobiGrant records all Client transactions and can Report on every aspect of their transactional activity. SASSA is provided with a means of Tracking 2nd Economy Financial Services Transactions;
  • MobiGrant makes it possible to set reasonable Per/Customer ‘Daily and Monthly Thresholds’ as well as a Cap on each Customer’s E-money balance;
  • MobiGrant accommodates the needs of Community Organisations, Savings and Loans, Clubs, Societies, Stokvels and other groups wanting to provide their members with transactional capability and record keeping with the capacity to drill down to individual transactional records;
  • Individuals and Organisations are able to make payments to and receive payments from other parties. MobiGrant calculates and schedules payments for Individuals, Organisations, Brokers etc., runs Debit Orders and is an ideal tool for teaching Money Management;
  • MobiGrant provides a peer review process for transactional activities making it an ideal tool for assessing and applying creditworthiness criteria for members and the previously unbanked;

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