South Africa’s Slide Financial, making payment as easy as sending a message

South Africa’s Slide Financial founded by three young South Africans who recently returned from living in the States is simplifying the way South Africans pay each other by making payment as easy as sending a message.

Inspired by PayPal-owned Venmo, the Slide app is a safe, simple and free way of sending money from one person to another using a mobile phone. Making a payment is as easy as sending a message.

“Standard payments are often expensive and inconvenient, while cash is unsafe and not everyone has easy access to an ATM. This opened up the opportunity for Slide,” said co-founder Irshad Kathrada.

Mobile phone penetration is growing quickly across South Africa, with more than 90% of adults having access to their own mobile phone, the slide team expects rapid growth as it helps lower the barriers to sending and receiving money can have a material impact on financial cohesion across the country.

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Person-to-person payments are a large part of the South African economy, with consumers seeking more convenient and cost effective ways to do this. According to a 2015 FinScope study, bank/ATM (43%) and supermarket money transfers (42%) currently dominate payment channels, while use of cash is in steady decline.

It saves you having to carry cash or knowing someone’s bank account details. It also doesn’t matter which bank or mobile network operator the sender or receiver uses. Slide is ideal for parents sending money to their children and for sharing costs like rent, concert tickets or a restaurant bill. A worker who wants to send money to his family within SA can now do it at no cost.”

After downloading the Slide Financial app on the Google Play or App Store, a user completes a quick sign up form which links their contacts so a user can choose who to pay or add a new contact with a cell number or email address.

Then simply add how much you want to pay, personalise your payment with a message, and authorise and send the money by selecting the bank you are with. Payments are funded using EFT secure technology direct from the sender’s bank account.

The recipient will be notified by SMS and email and then prompted to download the app. The money can be cashed out at any time to his or her bank account with one click. The money typically appears the next business day irrespective of bank. The sender will get a confirmation that the funds have been received.

According to co-founder, Alon Stern, “We researched the market and reviewed payments apps that have worked in SA and those that have failed. Those fintech businesses that failed tried to enter the person to person payments market wanting to pass costs on to the sender and /or receiver, and in some cases restricted use to certain mobile or bank networks, which limits who you can send money to or receive from. This resulted in their lack of success. We used these learnings to develop an enhanced solution.”

Slide makes use of the highest level security protocols. Payments into the Slide network use the same security protocols as internet banking. Payments from a bank are facilitated by CallPay under the highest level encryption, with advanced compliance levels.

Slide is a gold member of AlphaCode, a club for fintech entrepreneurs powered by RMI Holdings and has been funded and developed by its founders: Irshad Kathrada, Terence Goldberg and Dr Alon Stern.

“Slide is a great example of importing a hugely successful international fintech business and localising it,” said Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode. “It is very exciting when South African talent returns from overseas bringing their experience and different perspectives. I believe there is a need for a solution like Slide, particularly for the urban millennial consumer.”

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