SA earned wage access startup Paymenow secures $14m debt facility

South African earned wage access platform Paymenow has raised a ZAR250 million (US$14 million) debt facility through Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) to help fund its growth.

The Stellenbosch-based Paymenow was formed in 2019 and went live with its first customer in March 2020. A financial wellness platform, it allows employees to access a percentage of their accrued wages before the end of their payroll cycle, without the threat of costly loans, and carries the added benefit of building savings and improving financial wellness.

Founded by Deon Nobrega alongside business development head Bryan Habana (a Rugby World Cup winner), technical director Willem van Zyl, head of software development Gerry Potgieter, and founder investor Garth Mackintosh, Paymenow aims to ease the burden inflicted by payday and micro lenders through affordable, real-time, access to cash.

The ZAR250 million (US$14 million) debt facility comes off the back of Paymenow’s growth in the retail, mining, security, cleaning and facilities management industries. The startup currently services over 200,000 employees, with growth projections planned to double in the next year.

“There is tremendous demand for Paymenow’s services in South Africa, which has 25 million active credit customers, of whom more than 10 million are behind on their payments. As such, the population of people looking for access to liquidity is enormous, and our ability to provide this liquidity without compromising financial health is having a remarkable positive impact,” said Nobrega. “Access to funding, such as through the agreement with RMB, is a gratifying acknowledgement of the strength of our model, and a key enabler of our future growth.”

Paymenow is the first earned wage access provider to launch in Namibia and Zambia, with accelerating traction in both the private and public sectors, and intends to scale across additional strategic jurisdictions across Africa, including Lesotho, Ghana, and Kenya.

RMB is an indirect shareholder in Paymenow by virtue of its shareholding in the DNI Group, and has indicated that it is looking forward to continuing to holistically partner with Paymenow to enable the startup to grow, innovate and make a positive impact on society through financial education and financial wellness.

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