First National Bank (FNB) has acquired 100% of Selpal – a financial technology solutions company that operates specifically in townships and rural sectors of the economy.
Selpal merchants are equipped with a Selpal point-of-sale device that enables them to view, order, and pay for and sell stock – including various value-added services such as airtime – without the merchant needing to leave their shop.
FNB said it will use its collective current cash handling infrastructure to enable Selpal to facilitate payments between stakeholders in the supply chain. This further solves a large challenge of security and convenience for all participants along this supply chain. it said.
Gordon Little, FNB Business chief executive said says data and insights gathered through the devices will be highly instrumental in helping the bank to develop more relevant products and solutions in the near future for the informal sector.
This includes card/QR payment acceptance, access to credit and various insurance products – helping to grow and develop community-based businesses in a similar way that most formal businesses are able to via the formal financial system.
“This will further enable us to make better informed credit and product decisions, making it easier to facilitate lending through the ability to measure performance, track and gather information on the business’ activity over a reasonable time period,” said Little.
“As our knowledge and understanding of this market matures, we will be able to provide more value to these valuable small businesses in future.”
Little the ultimate goal is to deliver financial services in a similar style to the FMCG supply chain – a market that most merchants understand extremely well.
“If community-based businesses can see the value in what we are offering, we are confident that they will make use of our products and services, and in-turn, help increase the level of financial inclusion,” said Little.
“For example, FNB recognises that the spaza shop, which is arguably the oldest form of small merchant business in South African townships, is an integral part of the community economy and our objective is to incentivise these entrepreneurs that run these types of businesses to adopt more formal financial services.
“As an example, this could include objectives such as increasing the level card/QR payment acceptance at spaza stores for consumers to pay at, which ultimately benefits both businesses and consumers.”