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Ukheshe, Komuniti enable banking services for stokvels

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 19 Oct 2023
Ukheshe co-founder and CTO Paul Carter-Brown.
Ukheshe co-founder and CTO Paul Carter-Brown.

Digital banking services provider Komuniti has partnered with Ukheshe, a banking-as-a-service and financial enabler, to improve financial inclusivity in South Africa.

Komuniti provides online virtual accounts, virtual payments, stokvel savings, burial books for charitable donations, instant borrowing, as well as deposit and withdrawal options via its mobile app.

Its value proposition is to offer affordable and secure online financial and banking services to those who were previously excluded from the banking system.

The partnership allows Komuniti to process clients’ contributions and withdrawals into stokvels, seamlessly and securely, with transparency for all members.

It also allows stokvel members to conveniently lend money from their stokvel funds and make peer-to-peer payments.

A stokvel is a community savings club or society to which members regularly contribute an agreed amount – particularly among groups that may not have access to formal banking.

According to Komuniti and Ukheshe, these savings and community wealth creation mechanisms are often entered into without proper banking and financial services resources.

“In today’s digitally-driven world, traditional banking methods often fall short of meeting the diverse financial needs of individuals and communities,” say the partners in a statement.

“A large proportion of the African population has remained unbanked, and despite a high penetration of smartphones on the continent, many people have remained underserved by any formal financial service.”

Nick Dutuma, co-founder and CEO of Komuniti, says: “Townships are looking for alternatives beyond banks, where they can save and derive an income. Ukheshe’s framework has enabled Komuniti to bring accessible and seamless digital banking services to underserved communities.”

Since launching Komuniti in July and leveraging Ukheshe’s technology platform, the company says it now offers four products to 136 clients across the country.

Nick Dutuma, co-founder and CEO of Komuniti.
Nick Dutuma, co-founder and CEO of Komuniti.

Komuniti's founders connected with Ukheshe through Mastercard, while looking for a partner to help them operate as a neobank, or a digital-only bank.

The companies share a vision of enhancing financial inclusivity for underserved populations in the digital economy. Ukheshe provides Komuniti with the framework for its banking services.

Launched in 2018, Ukheshe provides the platform and technology that supports 16 banks and fintech firms, three telcos, 3 000 billers, 200 000 merchants, as well as 18 million digital wallets and four million apps combined, which process millions of transactions every month.

Ukheshe co-founder and CTO Paul Carter-Brown comments: “Ukheshe’s Eclipse platform serves as the infrastructure for fintechs and banks, such as Komuniti, to drive and realise their own innovative aspirations.

“Our platform handles everything from issuing, acquiring, payment processing and digital on-boarding, which then facilitates know-your-client. We can help Komuniti meet all the regulatory and compliance requirements for their financial services offerings.”

Ukheshe previously said it is expanding its operations to international markets, eyeing key regions such as Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific.

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