SmartAdvance launches low-cost lending alternative for employee wellness partners

Smartadvance, a registered credit provider and online lender recently launched their new wage streaming product which aims to assist employees of their current wellness program with emergency funds at a much lower cost than a personal loan, in a safe and secure environment.

Wage streaming is a service that allows employees to access a portion of their salary owed to them for the month but that has not yet been paid. Employees can access a percentage of their salary paid directly into their personal bank account at any point in the salary cycle, for a low, affordable fixed fee.

Wage streaming has become a more widespread trend as the cost of personal loans have become more expensive to many consumers. Today, there are an estimated 22.5 million credit active users in South Africa, and about 41% of these are considered to be high-risk borrowers, and possibly overindebted, unable to meet monthly commitments.

“Our financial wellness programme, run through smartadvance enables us to assist employees of our payroll partners with the funds they need for everyday emergencies without compromising their financial wellbeing and at a cost of less than 10% of a traditional pay-day loan.” Says Mark Young, CEO of smartadvance South Africa.

Employees can stream their chosen amount with the option to be paid in tranches or in full at a flat fee charged per transaction.

Due to the diversity of consumers within the payroll partners, smartadvance have considered accessibility for their customers making the wage streaming service available via USSD, online or via the smartadvance app.

“We understand and listen to our customer concerns or difficulties which is why we have launched this product. It provides access to affordable emergency finance to a range of consumers that might not have been able to access as cost-effective solution from the mainstream market,” concludes Young.

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SmartAdvance rehabilitation product provides financial relief for low income earners

SmartAdvance have introduced a rehabilitation product for our employer partners that will provide much needed financial relief to hundreds of employees.

According to the Debt Counselling Association as of December 2019 approximately 10 million credit consumers were classified as impaired, having an average of 8 loans agreements at a time.

With 44% of households (combined) earning between R1500 – R7000 per month and with a very low discretionary savings level, it is no wonder that families need to resort to credit as a means to survive each month. Although this may assist as a short-term solution, many find themselves unable to meet monthly commitments, often resulting in over indebtedness.

SmartAdvance, the credit provider that helps customers manage their money better identified the problem within one of our key employer partners, finding that the employees had an average of R28 000 worth of debt, struggling to manage their personal financial portfolio.  

It was for this reason that SmartAdvance established a rehabilitation product that would provide financial relief to these employees, reducing the number of debtors, allowing them to pay one lower monthly installment and often saving the customers between R800 – R1000 per month.

“Although the rehabilitation product is newly launched with in the company, we have already seen the positive results with customers that were previously struggling, saving money monthly and managing their debt more efficiently.” Says Mark Young, CEO of SmartAdvance South Africa

A loyal customer of SmartAdvance, after being in debt review and struggling financially for the past 8 years, is finally able to manage his personal finances more efficiently, make it through the month and meet his financial commitments.

“I never thought SmartAdvance could help me with my debt. When they told me about the rehabilitation product, I could not believe it but wanted it to try it. I am truly happy with their service and how they have helped me in the past years. I will always comeback to them when I need help. Thank you SmartAdvance, I am so relieved.” Says Fanisile

SmartAdvance is a registered and regulated credit provider that uses customized credit scoring technology combined with artificial intelligence to not only extend credit to our customers when and where they need it, but strive to help our customers make financially sound decisions for the long term.

“It is our goal to empower consumers to achieve financial health. By providing our clients with educational tools and extending credit responsibly, SmartAdvance aims to enable clients to make financially sound decisions for the long term,” Concludes Young

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SmartAdvance takes responsible lending and client privacy seriously: Microfinanza Rating Social Report

Finclusion Group’s SmartAdvance has recently undergone its first Social Rating Assessment by MicrofInanza Rating, which provides independent ratings aiming at enhancing transparency, facilitating investments, and promoting responsible practices of organisations that work to achieve financial inclusion and sustainable development. SmartAdvance earned a BB- rating from the global agency.

This report hailed the business’s client privacy practices as excellent while prevention of over-indebtedness and responsible pricing as adequte, although it highlights that product design has room for improvement. The business’ client complaint channels are also highlighted as being good, as there are multiple channels for clients to air their complaints and it does not necessarily have to be their original point of contact.

The business is on track to realising its goal and vision to deliver personalised financial services safely and easily through technology, with the mission and vision statements having been formalised recently (after the business’s rebrand in February 2021) and implementation is still ongoing. The company’s draft strategic plan includes goals and targets relevant to social performance.

SmartAdvance’s current customer base shows that 60% of its clients are women and the average loan balance per borrower (12%) indicates good outreach to the low-income population segment. ‘The loan products offered have adequate accessibility and flexibility. The need for clients to cope with emergencies is adequately met by the products offered.’, highlights the report.

“As the head of the business, I cannot ignore the impact of the pandemic and subsequent economic shutdowns. We have done our best to keep going and to be responsible for our growth. As the report indicates, there’s an increase in the number of loan seekers, however, we have erred on the side of caution as ours first and foremost, is to have responsible lending practices and to encourage responsible credit to our customers.”, stated Gerrie Fourie, the Head of SmartAdvance

The rating agency has also noted that staff gender balance is adequate, with 56% being women and a further 50% of women holding managerial positions. The company’s geographical coverage is adequate despite having no branch network however, outreach to households with relatively low-income levels is adequate. Staff initial and ongoing training is adequate with transparent and formalized HR policies where growth opportunities are generally well communicated.

Gerrie emphasized that ‘This is the first Social Rating report for the business and we are encouraged. We do not dismiss the recommendations made by MFR, although, we take pride in knowing that our hard work is showing, and although there’s room for improvement, the team can rest assured that their work is impactful to the clients and the market we serve.’

SmartAdvance also offers relevant non-financial services in the form of training and tools that are designed to impart financial management skills to clients. This includes a downloadable budgeting tool on the website, as well as videos and blogs which are easily accessible and uptake has been deemed adequate among active clients.


About Finclusion:

Finclusion Group is enhancing financial inclusion in Africa by building transformative financial technology services focused on high-growth market segments, providing world-class customer experiences. Our businesses leverage our credit, risk and technology expertise to grant financial services safely and easily using advanced, proprietary AI algorithms. Our current key focus areas are financial wellness, credit scoring and direct lending, operating through the brands Fractal Labs, smartadvance, niftycredit, niftycover, TrustGro and Click2Pay in South Africa, Eswatini, Kenya, Namibia and Tanzania. More info on


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