Paymenow, an earned wage access (EWA) platform developed in South Africa, is driving expansion into Africa.
After successfully launching in Namibia together with the Hungry Lion Restaurant chain in 2022, Paymenow is now expanding its operations in Namibia. To support its Namibian expansion, Paymenow has engaged with payroll-integration experts Lynkwise, who will provide in-country technical assistance.
Bryan Habana, co-founder and chief commercial officer at Paymenow, says this will allow a local presence and boots on the ground to enable further growth. “Since our platform launch with the Hungry Lion Group, we have seen a large uptake of employees using the platform and more corporates in Namibia are seeing the value delivered by the service.”
“More than 200 000 South African employees now have access to Paymenow via their employers,” Habana said. “In times of economic stress such as we are now experiencing, providing access to one’s wages, financial wellness education and a range of value-added services can mean the difference between employees making it to month-end or falling victim to loan sharks.”
Cindy Gaweses, Communications Associate at Lynkwise, said, “Paymenow supports our goals of offering convenient, affordable and responsible payroll-related financial services to Namibian employers and employees. We are proud to support Paymenow’s efforts to expand financial inclusion and make these innovative services available to a wider spectrum of Namibian employers and employees.”
EWA is designed to help indebted and struggling workers access wages at any time during the earning cycle, while reducing their dependence on loans so that they can become financially resilient. Paymenow is the first EWA company to cross South African borders and expand into Africa and has also recently launched in Zambia.
Paymenow integrates with any payroll system and is completely free for employers. Research has shown that most employees make use of early advances on earned wages to cover transport costs, grocery bills and financial emergencies. “These are hardly the costs that should force employees into a debt cycle from which they may never emerge,” Habana said.
A unique feature and first to market in the EWA space is the value-added service of financial education and gamification to teach employees better money-handling habits so that they can improve their financial position.
“We help employees develop their personal finance skills so that they can become less dependent on advances and better at financial planning. Financial education is sorely needed and helps employees meet their goals, remain happier and more productive,” Habana said.
The platform harnesses the power of Big Data to build user profiles to respond according to changes in financial behaviour. As users complete modules, they are rewarded with Bronze, Silver and Gold status, which allows increased access to advances and reduced fees. Users are encouraged to keep learning and improving their financial management skills through the gamification of growing savings.
“In a recent impact report based on independent research, almost all respondents reported an improvement in their overall quality of life because of Paymenow, and nearly two-thirds reported significant improvements. 80% of customers said their ability to save had improved, and customers had been able to reduce borrowing from money lenders and had more cash on hand to deal with emergencies. This is proof that the platform delivers value, and this is being recognised by employers. Our expansion into Namibia is just the first step in demonstrating value for users on the African continent, and we’re very excited for what comes next,” Habana said.