Investing in Africa’s fintech future

Justin Asher is Head of Strategy & Marketing at upnup, Africa’s first micro-savings and investment tool that passively accumulates non-traditional investment products on autopilot.

Some years ago, checking out on an e-commerce platform was a tedious experience that literally lasted days. Once your EFT finally cleared through the banking channels and reflected in the store’s account, if they didn’t just accept your proof-of-payment, that is, your product was released for delivery.

Delivery of your goods once could take up to 10-days to reach your front door and while you might think that sounds crazy considering the online technology-driven environment we see today, logistics still proves to be one of the biggest challenges facing any e-commerce store.

In today’s online world, checkout takes a matter of minutes – in some cases seconds – thanks to the development of new technologies and payment platforms such as zapper, peach payments and of course, the upnup open-banking partner, stitch.

Tony Mallam, MD of upnup, alongside other panelists at the Stitch LinkPay launch event.

So what does all of this mean for a startup, like upnup, in the invest-tech space? Simply put, upnup has the ability to leverage new banking and payment technology to catapult its product into the hands of eager consumers.

Through the use of the new LinkPay product launched by Stitch, every upnup user has a safe and secure way to invest in non-traditional and traditional assets. This innovative use of technology allows one to connect their bank account to the upnup app in order to process transactions and invest, thus simplifying the payments process even with varying amounts. 

Changing the way we plan for our future by investing on autopilot

The creative solution to entering the investment space, through micro-savings, as offered by upnup, allows for one to add small amounts to the back of everyday transactions as a means to accumulate a portfolio of assets over a long-term period.

The product’s roundup and addup features give users the ability to automatically have their transactions either rounded up (to the nearest R5, R10 or R50) or a set amount added to every transaction. Through users linking their bank account, the app is able to securely analyse their transaction history to calculate their investment amounts. This can be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis – although to start with, customers will only find weekly transactions available.

This type of investment on autopilot is something Africa has only ever experienced in the form of bank-linked savings pockets and – at a stretch – the earning of loyalty points. Where the market will find exciting differentiation from upnup is in the ability to choose an investment vehicle from an array of soon to come options. This would include fractional shares, cash investment pockets and digital currencies.

By turning small amounts into big amounts, the upnup mobile app gives users the opportunity to essentially passively invest in their selected asset – which to start off with, is Bitcoin.

Leveraging the cryptocurrency space as rocket fuel for launch

There’s no doubt that the inclusion of Bitcoin as a primary choice of asset has raised eyebrows, but that’s what makes upnup so unique off the bat. Firstly, Bitcoin is one of the best performing assets over the last ten years when compared to anything else. By applying the principles of Dollar-Cost-Averaging, a daily investment of $10.00 into Bitcoin over the past three years would today have been worth $4,439.00 – that’s almost 183% up on the total $1,570.00 investment.

Of course, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are volatile. The market wouldn’t be “the market” if assets weren’t volatile. Some are just more than others, however this risk can be mitigated to some extent by investing small amounts over a long-term period rather than trying to guess when the right time is to invest.

Returning to the use of technology and the simplicity of automated and linked payments, upnup gives users the ability to conveniently and safely take advantage of this ever-growing and constantly changing cryptocurrency space – it’s a first in African fintech and one of the first globally to use the technology available to offer a product of its nature.

Many of those curious about investing in cryptocurrency – particularly Bitcoin – think it requires thousands of Rands or Dollars to get started. The process to open accounts on various exchanges may not be as daunting as it was a few years ago, but the perception is certainly still strong that cryptocurrency investments can only be done on a large scale and that one needs to be extremely familiar with trading principles in order to get started.

So just like that day when peach payments launched its first online credit card purchase via an e-commerce website, and Zapper created the first QR code to scan and pay for goods on the go, here we are at upnup pushing the boundaries and challenging conventional norms through launching Africa’s first micro-savings and investment platform.

You can watch the full event below.

If you want to learn more about upnup please visit upnup.co.za, email [email protected] or download our Android app on the Google Play store.

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