The world of financial technology (fintech) is growing faster than almost any other segment of the tech industry, global investment in the sector reached nearly $3 billion last year. People are always looking for ways to make and receive payments.
Africa is home to the largest unbanked population on the planet; four in five adult Africans do not use formal banking services, however, the introduction of various startups in the fintech space has given more people access to banking. Kenya’s popular M-Pesa is an incredible example of the kind of success mobile payment solutions have had in Africa. It has now been launched in the US and Europe. Over 16 million customers were actively using the service by the end of last year, making more than $1.2 billion worth of transactions per month.
These 5 tech startups got our attention for changing how business is done:
iKhoKha – Attachable card reader that allows payment
This new Cape Town-based financial startup launched a payment service that they believe can assist SMEs in receiving payments from their customers. The Edge, a secure chip and PIN card reader that plugs into a smartphone, coupled with the iKhokha mobile app, transforms the phone into a secure mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) terminal. This enables merchants to process card payments anywhere in South Africa. Using the Edge, a wide range of South African businesses are also able to tender cash, card and mobile transactions, sell value-added services (such as airtime) and monitor and track sales performance and transactional history through the slick and easy-to-use Mobile App.
Gust Pay – Wireless payments
When Gust Pay launched it presented its technology at a popular South African music festival, Rocking the Daisies, which enabled certain people to pay for their drinks by swiping their wristbands. The startup also provides what it calls Event Intelligence — people can use an app that shows where merchants are, for instance, based on your location. It was one of the South African startups competing in the Seedstar World Finals in Switzerland, in January 2013.
Lendico – Peer-to-peer financing
Hailing from Germany and backed by Rocket Internet, Lendico connects borrowers to investors. It was launched in South Africa last year with a digital alternative to banks that enables investors to directly fund the loans of private individuals. It uses a peer-to-peer financing model where borrowers have access to cheap finance while investors get great returns on their investments.
The company analyses borrowers’ creditworthiness and offers them extremely competitive rates. Investors can compare all loan projects online and enter bids as low as US$35 (R250) or more. Investors are promised returns of up to 20.34%. Loan volume is said to be between R3 000 and R200 000 with an annual percentage rate as low as 7.92%.
ExpenZa – Budgeting made simple
ExpenZa is a budgeting app that curates all your bank-related text messages to track and help you manage your finances more efficiently. In January this year, the startup announced it has processed transactions worth more than R1 billion. It hopes to become the mobile tool for personal financial management as well as eventually targeting SMEs by introducing graphs and data to help businesses budget accurately and effectively.