South African banking giant First National Bank (FNB) has registered a patent in its home nation for using instant messaging within a smartphone application to transfer money.
Head of FNB Connect, Farren Roper, has told MyBroadband.co.za that the combination of instant messaging and mobile banking is patentable.
Users of the FNB app can transfer money to a contact as an instant message in the same way they would send a photo file.
The funds are in fact sent from and received by an FNB eWallet, a service which is open to non-FNB customers and linked to a mobile phone number.
People who are not FNB customers can only load money into their eWallet at an FNB ATM that supports automated deposits, but they must first register at an FNB EasyPlan branch.
Meanwhile, the institution's chief executive officer Michael Jordaan said on Twitter: "FNB patents money transfer within instant messaging service. May seem small now, could be huge one day."
By Claire Archer