The telecoms-led financial revolution is continuing in Africa. This time it’s South Africa’s Vodacom Financial Services that has extended the scope of digital finance with VodaLend Cash Advance, described as a product that gives customers quick and secure access to money when they need it most.
The new addition, available exclusively to Vodacom customers through the VodaPay super app, is geared towards underbanked consumers who need quick and barrier-free access to funds, whether (to use examples given by Vodacom) it’s an emergency doctor’s visit or topping up pre-paid electricity just before payday.
Vodacom customers can access a cash advance from as little as R50 (just under US$3) and up to R500 (US$29.51), with the option to settle it over seven, 14, 21 or 28 days.
In addition to the regulated requirements for affordability checks, the credit decision process is enhanced by also looking at a Vodacom customer’s recharge and payment behaviour. This ensures that the service can be accessed by more people, including first-time borrowers who can now enjoy the benefits of a secure, regulated lending solution.
Once approved, the money is advanced directly into the user’s VodaPay Wallet. It can be used instantly for in-app purchases, – not just bill paying but scan-to-pay in shops and sending money to friends and family.
Mariam Cassim, chief executive officer of Vodacom Financial Services, points out that the new system “provides affordable access to lending products for those who need these services most, but who have historically been prevented from doing so due to high fees and difficult-to-navigate paperwork”. It is also accessed in-app on a trusted digital platform and, in most cases, a lot cheaper than using an independent credit provider.
VodaLend Cash Advance is the latest product to be added to the VodaLend financial services suite, which includes VodaLend Compare, Voucher Advance, and Airtime Advance.
Since its launch in October last year, Vodacom says that the VodaPay super app has attracted 2.8 million downloads.