Know what you pay when you send cash via a phone

South African money.
South African money.
Image: Stock Photo

One of the most convenient services that banks have to offer is the ability to send money to somebody who does not have a bank account. All the person you want to send money to needs is a South African cellphone number.

And if you, as the sender, use your bank's app on your cellphone to send the money, your bank will pick up the cost of the data you use to complete the transaction.

Absa led the charge with this particular service but the other banks soon followed suit. Absa's offering is called CashSend, First National Bank's is named eWallet, Nedbank has the Send iMali service and Standard Bank's service is called Instant Money.

Capitec customers are not able to send money to someone using a cellphone number only, unless the recipient banks with Capitec and their cellphone number is registered with the bank. In which case it costs the sender R1.60 only, irrespective of the amount sent.

The cash send services of the banks are not only handy to send quick money to a student or an employee who doesn't have an account, it is also useful when you have left your wallet at home. In this situation you can send yourself money when in urgent need of cash.

According to a comparative study, the banks with the cheapest fee to send money - which is borne by the sender - are Absa and Nedbank. Both banks charge R8.50 per transaction. But if you send an amount higher than R1 000, then the Nedbank price jumps to R14. For Absa, the R8.50 send transaction fee is limited to its entry-level Transact account.

On Absa's higher level accounts you could be paying a sliding fee of R8.50 plus R1.40 per R100 which means that to send R1000 will cost you R22.50 making it the most expensive fee among the banks for this particular transaction.

Most of the banks limit their service to sending cash but FNB's eWallet service allows the recipient of the money to make partial withdrawals, buy goods at selected Spar stores, purchase prepaid airtime or electricity and pay their DStv or Box Office accounts.

Drawing cash at a till as well as prepaid purchases will cost the recipient R1.75 per transaction.

To pay your DStv account will cost R5.30, to pay a Box Office account will cost R1.85 per transaction.

FNB's eWallet and Standard Bank's Instant Money allow for free cash withdrawals at certain retailers. Absa and Nedbank do not offer the functionality of withdrawal at stores.

The recipients of cash sent need to be aware of the validity of the PIN they receive from the sender of the money. At Absa and Standard Bank, the PIN is valid for 30 days, and for just seven days at Nedbank.

After these periods, the money will be reversed into the account of the sender if not withdrawn.

FNB's PIN is valid for four hours only, but the recipient can request a new PIN ant any time.

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