CAPE TOWN – Wonga (UK) today launches its ground-breaking short term loans service in South Africa. Local consumers will have access to the same real-time loan-processing technology that helped catapult wonga into poll position as the UK’s biggest provider of short term consumer credit.
Technical trials underway in South Africa indicate that local consumers are hungry for the fast, flexible, convenient nature of the wonga service. The London-based company has already granted over 4 million loans worth £ 1 billion to UK customers, and CEO of Wonga (SA), Kevin Hurwitz believes that South African consumers are part of a new generation who are increasingly looking for innovative solutions to their everyday cash flow problems.
“Consumers have had to rely on traditional forms of credit and financial services for too long, with very little choice or alternative options available to them. Wonga offers customers a totally new approach to credit - 100% online, consumer-focused, transparent and responsible”.
Wonga allows applicants to choose the exact amount they wish to borrow (up to a maximum of R2000 for first-time users) and to select the amount of time they wish to borrow it for - from a few days to around a month. The total cost of repayment is calculated in real-time and clearly displayed on the homepage, before the customer proceeds with the online application process.
Wonga’s unique approach to short term credit is based on its automated decision-making and loan processing technology which means it can provide small cash loans 24 hours a day. The ability to offer speed and convenience, in a responsible and transparent manner, has seen the company win over customers from the UK’s big banks and earn a number of respected awards for its technology and customer interface.
Hurwitz explains that South Africans are becoming increasingly comfortable interacting and transacting online - whether on their PC or mobile device: “Wonga offers a service that using patented technology, accesses thousands of points of publicly-available data in order to make an instant, yet accurate lending decision”
Hurwitz, stressing that the company takes responsible lending seriously, emphasizes how selective it is in its decision-making process, “We will only grant a loan to an individual whom we believe is able to pay us back without causing additional financial strain. In fact, we only accept around a quarter of first-time applications for loans”.
“We believe that because we make our lending decisions without the need for human intervention or hard documentation, our decisions are more likely to be accurate as there is no room for subjectivity or human bias”.
Today’s launch is the company’s first commercial offering outside the UK, and since wonga was founded in 2007 by two South African entrepreneurs, the geographical location should come as no surprise. However the company has always had ambitions to use the internet and available data to deliver a better cash flow solution around the world.
Says Hurwitz: “It may appear to be a sentimental decision to kick start that expansion ‘back home’ –but it is in fact one based on a deep understanding of the local market and its consumers’ needs. South Africa is an exciting developing market to begin the company’s international expansion journey”.
Wonga has earned a reputation for disrupting the UK’s traditional financial sector and recently launched Wonga for Business, a new service offering weekly loans to small companies needing a cash injection to seize growth opportunities or manage late payment of invoices. The company was recently named number 1 in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100, which lists the fastest growing technology companies in the UK.