South African earned wage access company, Paymenow, is taking financial inclusion to the next level by removing the data cost barrier for its users when accessing the app and web platform, using a feature known as ‘reverse billing’.

Employees registered on Paymenow, who experience financial emergencies or difficulties, and who would like access to a portion of their hard-earned wages before month-end – without exorbitant micro or payday lending costs – can now do so through the app without needing their own data or airtime.

Paymenow is a platform which is free for employers, integrates seamlessly with payroll software and handles early disbursements of wages to employees to help them avoid the debt trap. The app also provides gamified financial education and low admin fees well below typical lending to motivate users to improve their money-handling skills.

“We realised that even the minimal data cost to access Paymenow can be a challenge for employees experiencing financial difficulty, so we have partnered with Cellfind (part of Digital Ecosystems Group) to pick up the cost for all connectivity to Paymenow. This is a pioneering move in the earned wage access sector that can save the users on average about R10 per month on data charges alone,” says Deon Nobrega, co-founder and CEO of Paymenow.

“Simply by running short of cash for household essentials toward the end of a payment cycle, any employee can find themselves exploited by loan sharks. It is unacceptable that a financial emergency could trigger ongoing debt problems from which the employee struggles to recover. Paying the aggregated cost for our user base means mobile users need no airtime or data balance on their SIM card to gain access to Paymenow and its full bouquet of services,” says Nobrega.

Bryan Habana, Paymenow’s co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer, “At Paymenow we are constantly looking at how we can stretch the little bit that people have that much further, and by waiving all fees to our users when they want to access our Value-Added Services to cover necessity items, such as electricity, data, medical care, clothing and groceries hopefully shows our commitment to drive financial inclusion and good financial behaviour.”

More than 200 000 South African employees are now signed up to Paymenow. The app harnesses the power of Big Data to learn employees’ spending habits and to provide tailored educational material to encourage responsible financial behaviour. It also offers value-added services such as grocery, healthcare and airtime vouchers, while providing free support including credit reports every 45 days and the ability to track credit score movements over time.

About Paymenow

Paymenow is a responsible earned wage access (EWA) Fintech that empowers staff by giving them access to their already earned wages, through a mobile app and its website, while looking after their financial wellbeing.

The Paymenow platform promotes responsible financial behaviour and encourages a saving culture. Paymenow’s vision is to ease the burden inflicted by payday and micro lenders through affordable, real-time, access to earned wages and to educate and assist South Africans to reach their financial goals.

Paymenow on-boarded 40 clients since it went live in March 2020, serving some 150 000 workers.*

(*As of July 2021, figures)