Banks and Phone Companies Vie for South Africa's Hidden Cash

Banks and phone companies try to expand their reach
M-Pesa, a big success in Kenya, is making another run at the South African market Photograph by Trevor Snapp/Bloomberg

Standard Bank Group hired Itumeleng Heymann to convince her neighbors that their cash would be better off in a bank account than hidden at home. “A lot of people around here don’t have accounts,” says Heymann, 27, wearing a bright blue Standard Bank T-shirt as she works the morning rush at a market in South Africa’s Tembisa township. They “don’t want to open accounts because they are scared that maybe there’s lots of fees. We explain to them why it’s better to have an account instead of putting money under your bed.”

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