Liberty investment app sees growth as South Africans save

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Glenn Grimley, chief specialist for ecosystem products at Liberty.
Glenn Grimley, chief specialist for ecosystem products at Liberty.

The Liberty Group says it is on a mission to get more South Africans into the habit of saving, with its Stash investment app reaching a milestone of 100 000 active users.

Developed by the financial services and property investment company, the Stash by Liberty mobile app was launched to the South African market in April 2017 to help users invest, by saving small amounts of money daily, weekly or monthly in a tax-free savings account.

The app recently won two global awards at the 2021 Digital CX Awards, receiving the Outstanding Customer Experience Transformation in Insurance Award and the Best Insurtech for Digital Customer Experience Award.

“Stash seeks to break down the barrier to entry for investing in SA. These awards represent an extraordinary milestone and positive recognition of Stash's digital journey,” says Glenn Grimley, chief specialist for ecosystem products at Liberty.

“When we first developed Stash, it was to enable financial inclusion and help address the poor savings culture in SA. After its market launch in April 2017, we gathered data for about two years to see what customers really wanted. With the growth of the app, we've been working to offer a more interactive user experience that makes investing easier and more organic for our clients."

The 2021 Digital CX Awards seek to assess the rapidly changing customer expectations in the digital economy, while transforming the customer journey across all digital touch points.

The awards were co-judged by PwC, Deloitte, Forrester and Capco.

In a country with high smartphone penetration and a poor savings culture, Stash also helps South Africans to build their financial literacy and investment confidence, notes Liberty.

Setting up a Stash account requires no paperwork or meetings with advisers.

After downloading the app, money is deposited into the Stash investment wallet by connecting it to a valid bank card (Visa or Mastercard) and the user is able to transfer funds into the customer's Stash investment wallet.

To withdraw, the user swipes to the "cash out" screen, and they can enter how much they want to withdraw and the money is paid back into their connected card account.

The interest rate is calculated according to two main saving portfolios which the user can choose from: the low risk Cash+ portfolio, which gives users a guaranteed growth rate of 3.5% per annum, or the SA Top 40 shares portfolio, which tracks the Financial Times Stock Exchange / Johannesburg Stock Exchange 40 index – a high-risk portfolio more suited to long-term investment needs.

According to Grimley, the app is constantly being improved, and over the past 12 months, the app has seen 100% growth.

"For the past year in particular, Liberty has been working to engage with its customers virtually because of the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We've been investing in tools that make customers' lives easier, that offer quicker access, but at the same time give them an experience that makes their connection to us much closer, and our Stash app has been at the forefront of this digital engagement," says Grimley.

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