South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, Vol 12, No 4 (2009)

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Personal or remote interaction? Banking the unbanked in South Africa

Johan Coetzee


The Financial Sector Charter (FSC) requires South African retail banks to provide  retail products and services to the rural-based unbanked. The challenge is deciding whether or not banking the unbanked must be pursued through personal or remote channels. This study considers the challenge facing the four largest South African retail banks. It investigated trends in servicing this market since the effective date of the Charter. It found that banks are currently using an integrated approach combining personal and remote interaction and emphasising the promotion of financial literacy. It remains to be seen whether this approach truly adds value for the unbanked. It is recommended that further research be done to establish exactly what the behavioural characteristics of the unbanked are over a period of continuous use of bank products and services.

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EISSN 2222-3436 (Online)