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Making access to credit and loan repayment available to anyone, anywhere

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Pocket Money has come up with a marketplace that offers a multi-layered solution that ensures that the borrower is introduced to various potential lenders.

KAMPALA, Uganda, May 13, 2019 – Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of new fintech models, offering alternative financial solutions to the conventional set-ups, more so in the lending sub-sector in Africa. New horizons in the African financial industry are evident with new trends gaining strong traction especially through peer-to-peer (P2P) models-allowing such distinct niches as consumers, SMEs and other borrowers who were hitherto ignored by conventional lenders to access loans more efficiently and expeditiously via digital lending technology.

Be that as it may, financial pundits lament that credit extension in Africa lags behind other regions, noting that while the ratio of credit is only 18 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa, comparable figures in South Asia and Latin America are 37 percent and 47 percent respectively.

However, hope is in the air though, with Pocket Money, a digital lending marketplace, determined to transform the financial fortunes of borrowers in Africa by pioneering a ‘cyclic’ lending system that will provide a breath of fresh air even to potential borrowers who had previously been ‘rejected’ by lenders within Pocket Money’s ecosystem.

To address this challenge, Pocket Money has come up with a marketplace that offers a multi-layered solution that ensures that the borrower is introduced to various potential lenders, offering more alternatives that provide the likelihood of a borrower to finally access the loan in the long run.

For instance, more often than not, a borrower may approach a lender for a microloan in cash, but the application, for one reason or another, is rejected, leaving the borrower with very few, or no options at all. The dilemma for the borrower becomes a nightmare especially if he’s a traveler in some regions of the world where access to an online lender is either limited or non-existent-a dire situation that means the end of the road for the borrower.

It is such a predicament that Pocket Money, which is now committed to officially stamp its footprint in Africa, is set to inhibit by developing a global marketplace in which the rejected loan applications are circulated and resubmitted to licensed lenders all over the world with a view to providing them with another chance of accessing the loan. Pocket Money’s ultimate aim is to make this technology available to everyone so that the echo of financial inclusion can resonate in every corner of the world, irrespective of geographic location. By doing so, it has created a marketplace for financial services that brings together financial service providers, customers, and investors into a single global stage.

According to CEO and Co-Founder of Pocket Money, Stefano Virgili, the new marketplace seeks to expand Africa’s financial ecosystem to have a real impact on financial inclusion on the continent.

“Through this unique system that links an array of potential lenders to borrowers, we are able to create a larger pool of clients who will in essence provide revenue sharing with lending businesses located across the world while the borrowers can connect with lenders around the world, breaking the barriers that prevented them from borrowing money from a competitive global marketplace”, says Stefano.

“Conversely”, adds, Stefano, “tech partners can connect to Pocket Money network and develop apps to integrate with fintech solutions while investors can participate in the Pocket Money fundraising as well as the backing of new loans”.

Stefano laments the challenges faced by borrowers in Africa including not having a credit history, therefore, rendering credit scoring almost impossible, loan application rejection partly due to the above or other criteria deficiencies, interests on loans that are prohibitively high, not having enough funds to repay loans, and not being able to borrow from someone abroad, while some lenders face the challenge of running out of cash to service borrowers.

“Pocket Money, therefore, offers solutions to these challenges by innovatively using technology, expanding the financial marketplace and strategic social engagement that reduces the risk of default. These solutions include creating a unique socially enabled Pocket Money Credit Profile that addresses the challenges of credit scoring which is a common criterion used to access borrowers’ repayment risk”, he adds.

Through the new technology, a borrower’s application is circulated through other lenders globally to increase the likelihood of getting a loan. The system ensures that the lender who wins the bid is the one offering the lowest interest, enabling borrowers to have access to competitive repayment rates.

The system, a new fintech technological phenomenon in Africa, is destined to be sweet music to borrowers in Africa for it will significantly attract and increase more aspiring borrowers, thus fostering financial inclusion on the continent.

Suffice it to say, Pocket Money is the easiest way to gain access to credit when rejected by a lender. However, lenders may also face the challenges that include risky borrowers’ profile which might expose financial service providers to uncertainty, unavailability of borrowers in certain markets and the risk posed by manual processes which might have an impact on time and quality of records.

These risks are nevertheless, mitigated by Pocket Money Credit Profile that provides hundreds of data points that give lenders a better risk analysis assessment. Through the marketplace too, lenders can bid on rejected applications anywhere in the world, ensuring there is no scarcity of potential borrowers.

Stefano explains that the Pocket Money ecosystem encompasses a strategic social engagement platform that enables participation with friends and families in surveys and micro tasks to earn loan credits that are particularly beneficial to cooperatives and groups like savings and credit societies as well as informal saving groups at places of work or among friends.

“Further, forex exchange rates in real-time used in this marketplace also facilitate a multi-currency wallet that allows sending money around the world in local currencies. This tool does not only service borrowers and lenders but also serves remittance payments in emerging economies”, says Stefano “in fact, it protects lenders by settling all the B2B transactions in USD.”

He adds that the marketplace is a multi-faceted platform that incorporates simple and intuitive lender dashboard developed by Pocket Money allowing for efficiency in saving processing time and ease of access to borrowers wherever they may be.

The marketplace also supports licensed lenders to ensure their sustainability by supporting some of their cash flow and liquidity challenges through loans made directly to borrowers, provision of third-party lenders and borrowers who use Pocket Money tools and borrowing money at low-interest rates and lending out at slightly higher rates for the service provided.

With Pocket Money, borrowers with high default risks are supported in paying back loans through social repay.

Depending on the country’s availability, Pocket Money users, whether they have borrowed or not, might receive micro-tasks, such as verifying that a billboard contains the poster that the advertiser has paid for, answering a survey, etc.

Such micro-tasks are paid for by brands through existing third-party apps. Each app might reward in a different digital currency, like Smiles for example. The currency can then be used in Pocket Money wallet to purchase USD vouchers that can be gifted to borrowers (i.e. family and friends) or purchased to offset your own loan.

All in All, Pocket Money not only benefits lenders, borrowers and investors; it also helps borrowers to pay back their loans through the use of innovative interoperability payment systems.

The marketplace uses today’s technology in a way that allows individual components of the financial services ecosystem to be open and connected to each other in such a way that was not possible before, creating solutions that are greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Partner lenders such as banks, financial services providers, telecommunication companies and governments who can act as underwriters for loan services will have an opportunity to operate in this marketplace with the advantage of having a larger market of customers locally, regionally and internationally.

Currently domiciled in Singapore, Pocket Money is now set on establishing its footprints in Africa, trailblazing what is destined to be a unique credit-lending marketplace that will undoubtedly transform the continent’s lending sub-sector.

Pocket Money.

 

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Cellulant and Money Q Collaborate to Make it Easier for Africans Living Abroad

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Cellulant Vice President of Global & Regional Merchants  Richard Gesimba and Amit Shrimali – Founder and CEO, Money Q

Cellulant, Africa’s Leading Payments Solutions Provider has partnered with Dubai-based fintech solutions company to enable expatriates to seamlessly pay for bills and recharge airtime for their beneficiaries across Africa. These customers will be able to make these payments through KrosPayz, Money Q’s Africa-wide digital payments platform that enables online payment for transactions and value-added services at the point of sale.

Mobile remittances present a unique opportunity for millions of people to access the formal financial system, bringing financial services and prospects for revenue generation closer to their communities. According to estimates, Sub-Saharan African remittances increased by 16.4% in 2021 but only by 5.2% in 2022. The average cost of sending $200 over international borders remained high in the second quarter of 2022, at 6%. Mobile operators offer the best rates (3.5%), but less than 1% of transactions are made through digital channels. Remittance services are now much quicker and less expensive thanks to digital technologies.

The KrosPayz digital wallet, which is set to go live first in Malawi this April, will enable customers to pay for national and international utility bill payments, airtime recharge, execute their domestic fund transfers to individuals and companies, and also pay in the local markets for their purchases via QR code.

“Remittances are the single largest source of foreign exchange for many developing economies, and they are stable and resilient in the face of economic downturns. They have been described as developing countries’ most stable, abundant, and secure sources of foreign aid. This partnership reaffirms our commitment to enabling businesses, banks, and consumers to make fast and efficient payments across Africa. By leveraging Cellulant’s presence and partnerships on the continent, Money Q will be able to provide its services throughout Africa” stated Richard Gesimba, Cellulant’s Vice President of Global & Regional Merchants.

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Money Q’s goal is to ensure that no African should be deprived of using the digital channels on the continent. Commenting on the partnership, Mr Amit Shrimali, Money Q’s Founder and CEO stated “I am very excited with this partnership as it helps me to go a step closer to the vision of Money Q which is to make sure that none in the countries, we operate are deprived of using the digital medium to transact. The partnership between MoneyQ and Cellulant will indeed complement one another in growing the market share of both the companies in the African continent.”

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Shelter Afrique unveils new five-year strategic plan

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Shelter Afrique new Managing Director and CEO, Mr Thierno-Habib Hann

Pan-African housing development financier, Shelter Afrique has unveiled a five-year strategic plan to restore the Institution’s performance, competitiveness, and value creation for the long term.

Shelter Afrique unveiled the plan during a Ministerial and Board retreat in Nairobi, which was also attended by the Shareholders’ Bureau represented by Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Rwanda who currently serve as President, First Vice-president, and Second Vice-President of the Bureau, respectively. Development partners such as the African Development Bank, and investment partners such as Actis, Mi Vida and Shapoorji Pallonji (India) were also in attendance. Side discussions were held with Bilateral partners such as CDC, now known as BII (British International Investment), one of the initial shareholders of the Institution.

The new 2023-2027 strategic plan, dubbed the ‘New Dawn’, is expected to position the Institution for growth through improved governance, operational and financial performance. 

The plan focuses on building relationships with various stakeholders to deliver strong and impactful business performance based on a new corporate structure fit for purpose.  

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Refocusing the business

Speaking at a retreat organised by the Institution in Nairobi to appraise the Board of Directors, shareholder representatives, and business partners, Shelter Afrique Chairman Dr Chii Akporji said the unveiling of the new strategic plan was an important milestone for the Institution.

“The new strategic plan that we have dubbed the ‘New Dawn‘ has laid the foundations to refocus our business on growth and impact, while creating sustainable returns for our shareholders and all our stakeholders. It has the board’s unanimous support and provides the Institution with a clear compass,” Dr Akporji said.

Dr Akporji welcomed the new Managing Director and CEO, Mr Thierno-Habib Hann and thanked the board for showing a great sense of responsibility and collective support to the new leadership paving the way to “creating conditions necessary to enter this new phase confidently”.

Echoing the Chairman, Shelter Afrique’s new Managing Director and CEO, Mr Thierno-Habib Hann said it was imperative for the Institution to refocus, deliver and scale up, following the successful conclusion of its restructuring program.

“The past 20 years provided us with some vital lessons which have been critical in developing the new strategic plan – a plan centred on sustainable and competitive growth while delivering consistently and enhancing shareholder value.” Mr Hann said.

Mr Hann added that the new strategic plan offers the Institution an impetus to focus more on clients, business performance, and staff; provides a framework for upscaling engagements with various stakeholders; offers a motivation to bolster the institution’s corporate governance credentials; and creates the momentum to introduce new product lines.

“While driving Mobilization and Syndication, we will be focusing on four business lines, namely (1) Funded and unfunded lines of credit to financial institutions to finance housing solutions, (2) Project Finance for large-scale housing initiatives; (3) Affordable Housing PPPs structuring and (4) Thematic Housing Fund Management and Advisory Services. The new strategic plan envisages a streamlined approach, which allows us to reach the end users by establishing new product structures such as Employer Staff Housing Funds, Green/Resilient homes and Rent-To-Own financing”, Mr Hann explained.

New organisational structure 

The unveiling of the new strategy has necessitated the re-alignment of the organisation and the introduction of a new organisational structure and operating model designed to support the Institution’s innovation, growth, and productivity ambitions for the next five years.

Effectively, the Institution has created new units which will focus the business on financial institutions, project finance, fund management, and public-private partnerships. Additionally, the Strategy, Policy, research and partnerships functions will also be driven from the CEO’s office.  

“We believe the new organisational model is central to the successful implementation of our new strategic plan as it will make us more agile and competitive, enhance client focus, unlock significant potential across the business, and drive value-creation through operational efficiencies,” Mr Hann concluded. 

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Ghana Fintech Awards 2022: DPO Pay Fintech Discovery of the Year

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Leading African digital payments company DPO Pay wins the Fintech Discovery of the year award in the 2022 Ghana Fintech awards. As an initiative of Arkel Limited – a Fintech research and management consulting firm – that is supported by the Ghana Fintech and Payments Association, the awards acknowledge the fintech products and services, technologies, fintech firms and dynamic doers in the fintech ecosystem.

DPO Pay’s Country Manager of Ghana, Frank Anwelle, said: “We are very proud and humbled to receive the Fintech Discovery of the Year Award. Our Team at DPO Pay extends their appreciation to the Ghana Fintech & Payments Association for recognising the hard work and commitment we hold to growing African businesses on a local and global scale. Our innovative approach to simplifying payment processing across Africa continues to drive the core objective of DPO Pay as a merchant-focused solution.”

The award judged international fintech companies operating in the Ghanaian Fintech space on providing best-in-class infrastructure for the deployment of fintech solutions and the ease of integration with third parties to offer financial and non-financial services. The Fintech Discovery of the Year Award recognizes international fintech companies, working within the local Ghanaian ecosystem to provide multiple choices to the industry and clients, ranging from payments infrastructure, credit and debit cards, mobile money, merchant acquisitions, and other payment methods, leading to an integrated financial sector.

Throughout 2022, DPO focused on bringing payment solutions closer to local businesses in Ghana. As part of its efforts, the company has partnered with Mastercard to enable thousands of businesses in Ghana to offer their customers greater choice and convenience by pivoting online and accepting digital payments. It has enabled enable merchants to safely, seamlessly and securely accept a wide range of digital payment methods including mobile money and via e-wallets – both locally and from abroad – in the currency of their choice.

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In addition, at the end of 2022 DPO released a new version of their payments app, DPO Pay Mobile. With several new features, DPO listened to merchant feedback to redesign and redevelop DumaPay. The app, previously DumaPay, now offers a variety of new features to allow for easier, more convenient transactions no matter where in Africa their businesses are. The new mobile payments application allows businesses to securely transact in multiple currencies across Africa.

Founded in 2006, DPO has developed integrated payments technology to support businesses of all sizes in over 20 countries and accepts payments securely and swiftly in all currencies and through many payment methods, including virtual cards, mobile money, and e-wallets.

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