Vodacom Intros New Cash Advance Product to Benefit Underbanked 

vodacom, vodalend, cash advance, underbanked, africa

Digital and financial services solutions firm Vodacom is introducing a new cash advance product to give people who are underbanked fast access to funds.

VodaLend Cash Advance complements other offerings in the VodaLend financial services product suite, including VodaLend Compare, Voucher Advance and Airtime Advance, according to a Tuesday (Aug. 30) press release. It’s available exclusively to Vodacom customers through the VodaPay super app.

“With only 26 million South African consumers having a formal credit record, there is still a significant part of the population that doesn’t have access to formal financial services,” said Vodacom Financial Services CEO Mariam Cassim. “VodaLend Cash Advance 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.”

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Cassim continued that the in-app platform provides customers with a “seamless, convenient, and secure process,” calling it a “potential game-changer” with lower fees.

“On average, it’s up to 400 percent cheaper than using a mashonisa [money lender] — it moves us beyond financial inclusion to real financial impact,” Cassim added. Cash advances can range from as little as R50 ($2.96) and up to R500 ($29.56), with the option to settle it over seven, 14, 21 or 28 days.

The credit decision process includes looking at a Vodacom customer’s recharge and payment history as well as regulated requirements for affordability checks, according to the release.

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The decisioning process is intended to ensure the service can be available to as many people as possible, including first-time borrowers. Funds are deposited into the user’s VodaPay Wallet upon approval and can be used immediately.

Since the super app’s launch in October 2021, it has been downloaded 2.8 million, Cassim said. Headquartered in Midrand, South Africa, the company has operations in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the DRC), Mozambique, Lesotho and Kenya, according to its website.

Its mobile networks cover a population of over 303 million people, and through Vodacom Business Africa (VBA), the company offers business-managed services to enterprises in 48 countries.

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