In Conversation: Kabelo Sekoto (Product Manager, First National Bank Botswana)

As the bank looks to phase out cheques by December 2023, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) in October, the bank launched a replacement product to enable businesses to disburse funds to employees, both banked and unbanked, in real-time. It is called eWallet Pro.

To get a broader understanding of eWallet Pro, BW TechZone talked to Kabelo Sekoto, product manager at the bank, to get a broader understanding of the product as well as the value it aims to add to enterprises.

Please share with our readers exactly what eWallet Pro?

eWallet Pro is a card-based payment solution tailored for businesses, offering a secure and instantaneous way to make payments to both banked and unbanked customers via Online Banking Enterprise (OBE). Companies will order a stock of cards and the recipients will own it once it is issued to them making it convenient for them to go and retrieve the funds.

What distinguishes eWallet Pro to the eWallet that most Batswana are used to?

While eWallet primarily caters to both retail and business customers, eWallet Pro is primarily designed as a business-centric solution. Additionally, while eWallet allows beneficiaries to receive funds through their mobile phones, eWallet Pro is linked to a VISA card, providing a card-based payment method. Another advantage is that recipients can swipe/make point-of-sale purchases with both card types.

Then there are differences in transaction limits. So while eWallet supports low-value transactions, with limits up to P 4,000 per transaction, eWallet Pro offers significantly higher disbursement limits, allowing transactions up to P 500,000.

eWallet also permits fund reception from multiple senders, both individuals and businesses. In contrast, eWallet Pro restricts fund receipt exclusively to the issuing business clients, establishing a clear separation between these two types of wallets.

In summary, eWallet Pro stands out as a specialised payment solution for businesses, offering higher transaction limits and the convenience of card-based payments, making it a robust choice for businesses to streamline their payment processes.

What motivated the product's launch?

The decision to introduce eWallet Pro was driven by several factors. Firstly, the Bank recognised the impending gap in disbursement methods once cheques were phased out by December 31, 2023. Business customers still needed a way to pay their banked and unbanked clients, making eWallet Pro a solution to address this need. Additionally, there was a strong commitment to inclusivity, with a focus on serving the unbanked population.

What value does it offer to small business owners and their clients?

eWallet Pro provides convenience, safety, and security for both small business owners and their clients. Owners benefit from the ease of using the platform through Online Banking Enterprise, enabling them to distribute cards directly from their premises. For recipients, it offers instant access to cash once it's loaded onto their card. The solution's security is bolstered by the well-established security features of the online banking platform, reducing risks associated with forgery and check manipulation. For clients, the risk of carrying large amounts of cash is managed through the secure chip and pin card, ensuring access to cash when needed.

How does eWallet Pro compare to traditional cheques which are being phased out?

eWallet Pro offers several advantages over traditional cheques. It is more secure, provides instant access to cash without requiring a bank visit, and is a cost-effective option for recurring payments, such as staff salaries. Notably, eWallet Pro cards remain valid for 3 years, a significant improvement compared to the 6-month validity of traditional cheques.

What security features are available on the product?

 The eWallet Pro card is chip and pin to ensure that cardholders are secured in making payments.

The audit trails through Online Banking ensure businesses have track of all activity and manage the card stock more conveniently.

Please state the charges associated with the product.

eWallet Pro has a one-time set-up fee of P500. The cost of each card ordered is P77.95. We have aligned send money (Payment fees) to the current eWallet send fee of P9.00 and this gets discounted across tiers as volumes of recipients increase.

 What can FNBB users do to access the product?

eWallet Pro is available to Businesses with access to Online Banking Enterprise (OBE). One needs to have an FNB customer and have access to Online Banking Enterprise. To be onboarded customers can contact their Relationship Managers or visit their nearest branch. 

 Is there anything else about the product you would like to add?

 Future phases of eWallet Pro are underway to enhance the product and offer more to customers. Customers can be sure of added functionality and convenience.

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