Stokvels have operated in South African townships for decades as a way for families to make the most of their mostly meagre incomes. Now, a young entrepreneur has developed an app that enables stokvels to easily manage their finances.
StokFella was created by Tshepo Moloi and enables stokvels to record the payments and claims of all stokvel members under one central point.
The app was launched in March last year and has recently been updated. “We built up a user base of more than 400 groups in the space of one year, validating our assumptions about the lack of offering in this market. This traction informed our decision to release the next layer of the application, enabling stokvels to make transactions that offered long term value to its members,” Moloi said.
The updated app looks to elevate financial inclusion in the rising black middle class offering financial products to a previously under serviced market.
The savings and investments monitor notes that usage of stokvels as an informal savings vehicle is not limited to low income earners. High levels of adoption were noted across income brackets, furthermore noting the higher the household income level, the more stokvels participants belonged to.
Another important feature StokFella 2.0 offers is the ability to bank the unbanked, as the application gathers data at the leaf end of a stokvel group i.e. collecting data on each member’s financial behaviour within the group, giving members without a credit record the opportunity to develop a credit score.
“More can be achieved to turn around the relationship that South African’s have with their finances. We are targeting black households who are interested in building a financial portfolio as the app looks to open the doors to greater market opportunities for those with informal saving vehicles” Moloi said.
“This is what StokFella 2.0 is all about. By bringing all stokvel groups under one platform together with their funds, it hands the buying power back to the stokvel members by enabling them to grow their own capital to fund their aspirations such as buying a home or starting a business.”