Choosing the right banking solution can help bring things together

Why instant wins are the future of retail loyalty, and how SPAR is leading the charge

As many people continue to celebrate their families and mothers, EasyPay Everywhere is highlighting just how the right financial solutions in the current economy can help make things a little easier for mothers, and families by helping them manage their financial circumstances better.

Statistics SA figures show that close to 43% of South African households are headed by women and rely on a single income—which is often substantially less than that earned by men. Woman-headed households are thus especially vulnerable when one also considers that most of these women play a caregiver and provider role in their households, with 68% relying on social grants. 

“The sad truth is that a high proportion of our fellow South Africans rely on social grants to survive, and for them the right tools to manage their money wisely and cost-effectively is truly a matter of primary importance,” says Simphiwe Phakathi, Executive Head of Sales and Distribution at EasyPay Everywhere. “The big idea behind EasyPay Everywhere is providing South Africa’s most vulnerable citizens with full-on banking complemented by a range of relevant, value-adding solutions to help them meet their financial goals.

“We believe that financial empowerment is the foundation for genuine economic empowerment.”

EasyPay Everywhere has worked to design affordable and reliable banking solutions that meet the needs of its customers and particularly, the needs of SA’s grant recipients.

Phakathi says the company devotes a lot of time to listening to customers to ensure EasyPay Everywhere solutions provide what they want and need. For example, the financial services provider has developed multiple channels to service its market: physical and pop-up branches in townships and rural communities for customers who prefer face-to-face interactions, while more digitally inclined customers can bank or borrow via USSD or a smartphone app. Services are also available via a contact centre.

“Another key part of our value proposition is that we communicate proactively with our customers; for example, by informing them via SMS when any transaction is made and, critically, when their grant has been received. Customers can also view their balances or get statements on USSD,” he says. “No more having to spend money on a taxi to get to an ATM or branch to find out if your grant has been paid.”

EasyPay Everywhere recognised that underbanked lower income families do not just need transactional banking, although that remains important. This market is particularly reliant on credit to meet exceptional expenses, such as home repairs, back-to-school supplies, or unforeseen expenses.

Unregulated moneylenders or mashonisas charge extortionate rates of interest, plunging their clients into a never-ending cycle of debt. By contrast, EasyPay Everywhere has developed a responsible lending model.

“We don’t charge interest on loans, only an initiation fee and monthly service fee over a loan repayment term of six months,” Phakathi says.

Most important of all, we do affordability assessments on every loan ensuring we only lend to people who can service the loan, so our customers don’t get in over their heads.”

Easy access to affordable loans has proved to be one of things EasyPay Everywhere customers love the most about the products we offer. The company’s “Tell us what you love” Facebook campaign showed that customers rely on EasyPay Loans to meet big expenses like school supplies or assist with home improvements, but also to bridge financial shortfalls—sometimes literally to put food on the table. In some cases, a quick EasyPay Loan enabled a desperate parent to access medical care for a sick child.

Many EasyPay loans are taken up by single mothers who need help to meet their expenses to support their kids and families, while 30% are taken up by older people who receive Older Person’s grants. It’s highly significant, say Phakathi, that 70% of our loan customers choose to use the loan facility multiple times.

“In the course of a year, we’re proud to disburse over R1.6 billion in loans, providing essential support to our communities, those who need it most,” he says.

South African families come in many different shapes and sizes, but they have one thing in common—they create resilient support structures for their members. South Africa’s large proportion of woman-headed households are especially reliant on the support of the extended family.

The extended family is a great source of support, but it seldom suits conventional financial products. Based on its dedication to understanding the needs of its market, EasyPay Everywhere has developed tailored products for extended families.

For example, funeral cover can be purchased for up to six members of the extended family, while a pensioners’ plan makes reliable insurance available to the over-60s, with up to five dependent children or grandchildren able to be added from as little as just R10 per month.

Over 400 000 EasyPay Everywhere customers have already taken up an EasyPay Insurance policy, and the total value of the cover provided is over R5.2 billion. In the past 24 months, EasyPay Insurance has already paid out over R 157 million in claims to policyholders and their families.

“That’s a lot of support! But we also realise that our customers’ needs change as they progress through life, and we try to develop products that speak to these needs at different life stages,” concludes Phakathi. “Times are hard for many people—EasyPay Everywhere helps to bring things together by putting top-notch financial tools within their reach and making it easier to for them to get the most out of their money and to access affordable insurance and loans as well.

“We call it bringing things together, izinto ziyahlangana in the Zulu phrase or, as we prefer to put it, Easynto Ziyahlangana.”

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