Financial Inclusion

Sasfin And Hello Paisa Team Up For South African Banking Venture

Two South African FinTech companies, Sasfin, a banking group, and Hello Paisa, a money transfer startup, are teaming up to start a bank with a goal of bringing thousands of South Africans who lack bank accounts into the country’s financial system, according to reports.

The new bank is going to utilize Sasfin’s infrastructure and license in tandem with Hello Paisa’s tech and distribution network.

The bank will have services like a mobile app, an account, a Visa debit card and a mobile SIM card.

“We saw this initiative with Hello Paisa as an ideal way to offer banking to people we believe are underserved. More importantly, we have the opportunity to do so with a partner that genuinely understands the needs of its customers and has built products to serve their needs,” Sasfin CEO Michael Sassoon said.

Customers will be able to open accounts with the new bank in just minutes, Sassoon said.

Ahmed Cassim, managing director of Hello Paisa, said personalized products are a key initiative in the new venture.

“We serve hundreds of thousands of customers who are underserved, whom traditional banking players cannot reach. Providing them with access to the banking world will make a huge difference to them in growing their businesses and creating more jobs,” Cassim said.

Cassim added that he had 200 members of his staff in informal settlements daily to try and get the word out about the bank and aid people in using it.

The untapped market of unbanked individuals in the country are a big opportunity for growth, not only for the two startups but also for South Africa’s four big banks, which are FirstRand, Absa, Nedbank and Standard Bank.

Sassoon said he would attract the new customers with a network of outlets, and workers out in the field to educate and win the trust of people who might not normally interact with the financial system. This, he said, is why the new venture has an advantage over rival banks.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.