Wonga cash goes mobile

2012-11-27 09:03
Wonga has launched a mobile site for microloans. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Wonga has launched a mobile site for microloans. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Online microloan provider Wonga has launched a dedicated mobile site to cater for a growing market of mobile users who do not have a computer.

"A mobi site has always been part of our business plan for SA. We are fully aware that not everyone has regular access to the internet on a desktop PC, and in order to offer our service to the majority of eligible consumers, it was vital to have a site which could be accessed via a mobile phone," said Wonga South Africa CEO, Kevin Hurwitz.

Wonga targets a demographic of users that demand small cash loans and the company has been on a drive to disrupt the traditional credit market in SA.

Loans in this sector attract a high interest rate and Wonga charges 60% per annum, but loans are typically paid off in less than 40 days for amounts under R8 000.

The company sees itself as a competitor to credit cards in granting unsecured loans.

Realities

"The way we see ourselves… is very much as an alternate to credit cards. Banks are very happy keeping you in credit deeper and longer - that's how they make money. We're different: We make our money when you pay us back," Hurwitz told News24.

The company has been marketing itself aggressively and despite its quick turnaround time in granting loans, not all loan applications are successful.

Wonga said that it used masses of data in its algorithms to make a determination of whether to grant a loan.

"Any piece of publically available data we will use in some in the automated decision-making process," said Hurwitz.

The move to a mobile site reflects the realities of the South African internet market where relatively few users have access to a traditional internet connected PC, but mobile phones are growing exponentially as internet contact points.

"A great deal of research and development went into creating an automated risk decision and lending system for the South African market, and so adapting that technology for use on a mobile phone is the logical next step for us," said Hurwitz.

Wonga is Cockney for "cash" and though the company was launched in the UK, it has since located its global call centre in Cape Town.


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