Hello Group, working with Sasfin, has launched a bid to bank the unbanked in South Africa with a new fintech offering that builds on its successes in the telecommunications and mobile financial remittance markets.
Founded about 13 years ago by Nadir Khamissa and his brother Shaazim, Hello Group has built itself up into a major player in the telecoms and financial services market by serving mainly migrant workers looking for an affordable way to communicate and do cross-border money transfers.
In the past three years, Hello Group has expanded across emerging markets in Africa and Asia and now employs more than a thousand people — up from 300 three years ago.
It was the first company in South Africa to receive an independent money transfer operator licence from the Reserve Bank. It now has big plans to expand its financial services offerings in South Africa.
Speaking at the launch of the Hello Paisa banking initiative in Sandton on Wednesday, Sasfin CEO Michael Sassoon said the product is aimed at addressing the needs of the previously unbanked. “In Hello Group, we have found the company that is best placed to serve the needs of the unbanked.”
Sassoon said 68% of payments made in South Africa are still done with cash. “Legacy banking environments are hugely intimidating (to the target market). Hello Group has made it their business to understand this market inside out.”
Khamissa said more than 60% of South Africans do not engage in digital commerce. “What if the magic of software and the Internet and the smartphone allowed to create services that improve people’s live even just a little bit?”
‘Banking to the people’
The aim with the Hello Paisa banking product, Sassoon said, is to “take banking to the people, rather than having to get people to come and wait in long queues”.
“What gives us confidence of success is that Hello Paisa has already been a huge success. They are the largest remittance payments player in South Africa, and banking was the most obvious and seamless next step,” he said.
“Supported by Sasfin’s banking platforms and infrastructure, Hello Paisa’s digital banking offering comprises an adaptable ecosystem of services, including an intuitive mobile app, mobile Sim card, bank account and a Visa debit card that operates at any ATM or point-of-sale device,” Hello Group and Sasfin said in a statement. “Based on their ecosystem, Hello endeavours to bundle its offering to suit South African’s needs. The account can be opened in minutes and is driven by game-changing, smart technology.” — © 2019 NewsCentral Media
- Listen to a podcast interview with Nadir Khamissa from November 2018 on Hello Group’s ambitions in the financial services market