The origins of Paymenow
In honour of Heritage Day in South Africa this September, we look back on how we have delivered on our mission to help workers achieve financial dignity and peace of mind through powerful cutting-edge earned wage access technology.
The Story of South Africa’s First Earned Wage Access Company – Paymenow
In 2018, Deon Nobrega, a business development specialist with 20 years’ experience in the investment banking and fintech industry, saw the potential that earned wage access had in turning South Africa into a more financially resilient country.
Based on its success in the US and UK, Nobrega pitched the idea to his old university roommate and South African rugby icon Bryan Habana. Having studied business and IT, Habana shared Nobrega’s vision for harnessing the power of technology and the two began researching best practice for creating the country’s first earned wage access company.
Developing the first Earned Wage Access company in South Africa
While Nobrega and Habana met with some of the leading entities globally, in Earned Wage Access(EWA) technology, they knew that translating the core offering of EWA to the South African context would take some innovation and fresh thinking.
Shocking statistics related to the country’s savings culture were more than enough motivation to develop Paymenow. Low levels of financial literacy combined with a legacy of workers being caught in debt traps from being forced to approach unscrupulous loan sharks led to many employees not being able to make ends meet each month.
The social knock-on effects were disastrous – from an absence of retirement savings to an inability to fund children’s education, the financial dignity of South African citizens was being continually eroded.
Nobrega and Habana were determined to create an ethical fintech that was not only financially inclusive but also socially responsible. As a result, not only does Paymenow include technology to facilitate earned wage access, which allows employees to get access to a portion of their earned wages through the course month ahead of payday to cover financial emergencies, but our app also features educational material on financial literacy, rewards and discounts on fees for managing wages effectively. As such, our company is a service that grows as our users themselves become more financially resilient.
To ensure that the idea of Paymenow deployed the very best in technology, Nobrega, Chief Executive Officer, and Habana, Chief Commercial Officer, recruited some of the country’s foremost technology, fintech and banking minds in Willem van Zyl and Gerry Potgieter, to create a platform that features world-class security and functionality.
Van Zyl, Technical Director of Paymenow, is a master Solutions and Enterprise Architect who has enjoyed a stellar career in the banking sector. Together with his analytical approach and keen eye for data and business process optimisation, he ensures Paymenow processes run optimally and securely.
Potgieter, Chief Digital Officer of Paymenow, has more than 20 years’ experience in software development, particularly in the banking and fintech industry, having led projects for some of the country’s largest banks. He has been responsible for ensuring that Paymenow provides a seamless user experience.
This founding team was responsible for bringing South Africa’s first Earned Wage Access platform to the market and has already made significant progress in bringing financial peace of mind to employees and providing this payroll optimisation platform to many employers of choice.
Vision, aim and goals
Our goals are to provide a cheaper, more responsible alternative to predatory payday lending, and to allow employees to make their money stretch further to cover essential service items that should not attract loan interest. All this while giving employees their dignity back by responsibly allowing them access to a portion of their already hard earned wages.
Ultimately, our technology and free educational resources will grow responsible financial behaviour among users, disrupting the vicious debt cycle and encouraging a savings mindset that will turn employees into financially resilient citizens.