Cash-strapped South African gamers who need to pay off PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X consoles and accessories over a long period will cough up a lot more when renting to own these devices than buying them on credit.
In the past few months, several members of local gaming groups like the ZA Gaming Alliance (ZAGA) have asked fellow users if there was any way to pay off systems over time without going through a credit check.
Some of them have turned to platforms like Rentoza, which lets its customers rent a wide range of products — including electronics and gaming systems — instead of buying them.
Customers pay a monthly fee over 3, 6, 12, or 18 months and are then given the option to keep the device by paying a buyout fee.
Rentoza only requires that the customer have a banking account with a card they can link to their profile — something which is within reach of many South Africans.
Customers must also verify their identity by providing a copy of their ID and performing a live selfie procedure via a mobile app.
This low barrier for entry means that Rentoza is available to many people who might not be deemed financially healthy enough to sign up for credit.
Mobicred and similar online credit providers have more stringent requirements.
In addition to having a valid South African ID number and being over 18, they must present proof that they earn a minimum monthly salary of R5,500.
Mobicred currently charges interest at an annualised rate of 21.75%, but this is linked to the Reserve Bank’s repo rate so it could fluctuate.
According to Takealot, it also levies a monthly service fee of R42 and a once-off account activation fee that ranges from R119 to R610, depending on the product’s value.
Rentoza proves to be very expensive
We compared the total costs when buying gaming consoles and peripherals through Rentoza to Mobicred.
While renting a product would make some sense if the monthly cost was significantly lower than paying off on credit, that is not the case for Rentoza.
We found that Rentoza’s monthly premiums were very similar to Mobicred, despite the latter charging a very high interest rate. Adding the buyout costs to own a device pushed the Rentoza price well over the total cost of a credit agreement.
For example, you could rent the PlayStation 5 Standard Edition over 12 months for R1,080 per month from Rentoza.
At the end of the term, that would come down to a total cost of R12,960, but you would have to give the console back.
If you want to own it, you must pay an additional R4,860, bringing the total amount paid to R17,820.
By comparison, with Mobicred, you will pay R1,309 per month at the current interest rate, working out to R15,708 over 12 months.
Add the R42 monthly fee and a maximum potential initiation cost of R610, and the Mobicred option would cost R16,822 — nearly R1,000 less than when using Rentoza.
The initiation fee may be lower than this, so the Mobicred option could work out even cheaper.
Using the same methodology for the Xbox Series X, we found that Mobicred was nearly R3,000 cheaper than Rentoza over the full duration of the contract.
With every device we compared between Rentoza and Mobicred, the former was more expensive.
Although Rentoza does make gaming more accessible for those who might struggle to qualify for credit, those interested in such a service should carefully weigh the cost.
The table below compares the costs of renting to own a gaming console or accessory from Rentoza with buying it on credit through Mobicred on Takealot.
|12-month cost comparison — Rentoza vs Mobicred|
|Rentoza||Mobicred on Takealot|
|Total cost to rent/own||Monthly premium (x12)||Monthly service fees (x12)|
+ est. once-off initiation
|Total cost to own|
|Nintendo Switch||R700||R3,000||R8,400 / R11,400||R701||R42 + R610||R9,526|
|Nintendo Switch Lite||R490||R2,000||R5,880 / R7,880||R505||R42 + R610||R7,174|
|Nintendo Switch OLED||R820||R3,600||R9,840 / R13,440||R935||R42 + R610||R12,334|
|PlayStation 5 Disk Edition||R1,080||R4,860||R12,960 / R17,820||R1,309||R42 + R610||R16,822|
|PlayStation 5 DualSense controller||R180||R520||R2,160 / R2,680||R141||R42 + R119||R2,315|
|PlayStation 5 Media Remote||R120||R230||R1,440 / R1,670||R66||R42 + R119||R1,415|
|Pulse 3D Wireless Headset||R210||R660||R2,520 / R3,180||R197||R42 + R119||R2,987|
|Xbox Series S||R680||R2,920||R8,160 / R11,080||R561||R42 + R610||R7,846|
|Xbox Series X||R1,110||R4,990||R13,320 / R18,310||R1,206||R42 + R610||R15,586|
|Xbox Series X|S controller||R180||R500||R2,160 / R2,660||R138||R42 + R119||R2,279|
|Xbox Elite Series 2 controller||R420||R1,650||R5,040 / R6,690||R313||R42 + R610||R4,870|
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