Vodacom has launched a new voucher and lending service which allows clients to use advance payments to purchase goods. The service currently includes products offered by fast-food chain Nandos, and South Africa’s biggest home appliance store, Hirsch’s.
With the success of Vodacom’s airtime advance service, which has approximately 11 million active users, the telecommunications provider is looking to expand its lending programme to retailers. Vodacom’s Voucher Advance is part of the provider’s VodaLend service which offers loans and financing arrangements to small businesses. This new service allows Vodacom clients to buy vouchers at a discounted rate and “pay now” or get an advance to “pay later”.
These vouchers are bought and advanced through the My Vodacom App, with plans to introduce USSD functionality in the future. The service can be accessed via the “Vouchers” section within the “My Account” tab of the app.
To be eligible for the Voucher Advance service, users need to be active on the Vodacom network for at least six months and have a “proven track record” of buying airtime or data bundles.
Qualifying Vodacom clients can access discount vouchers for Nandos ranging from R25 to R75. Vouchers for Hirsch’s start at R250 and extend to R1,000.
Vouchers will need to be paid back within 30 days and remain valid for three years. Clients who don’t pay back the advance within 30 days will be charged a service fee of either R5 or R10 – depending on the value of the voucher – per month.
Voucher payments will be charged to the client’s bank account, using the card details approved by Vodacom. Advance vouchers are linked to one purchase at a time and additional vouchers can only be bought when the outstanding amount is paid in full.
“Voucher Advance is yet another innovative addition to our lending product suite, which showcases our commitment towards greater financial inclusion within communities in South Africa,” explains Mariam Cassim, Chief Officer of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services.
Vodacom’s latest lending move follows an increasing push into the financial services sector by mobile network providers. MTN Mobile Money (MoMo), launched in South Africa in 2020, has almost 2.5 million users in the country. Cell C also offers an “emergency” data and airtime service, which allows clients without funds to recharge immediately and pay back at a later stage.
“We, as a business, are also mindful of the fact that South Africans face tough economic challenges. Our primary focus is to deliver seamless and rewarding experiences for customers and vendors in a cost-efficient way,” says Quintin Van Vuuren, Executive Head of Lending at Vodacom Financial Services.
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