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Financial service comparison websites have been around for a while in South Africa with the likes of Hippo, Click n Compare and many more, assisting people with probably one of the most stressful undertakings out there.
Now, two young entrepreneurs are trying to help South Africans with a more in-depth finance comparison website, called Fincheck, which helps people find loan options.
Slated as an independent comparisons website, Fincheck focuses on comparing complex verticals of the financial sector in a more simplistic manner. Its offerings look at finance plans for personal, payday, and student loans, debt consolidation, and credit cards. The company place to roll out similar features for savings and cheque accounts, and forex, but a time-frame hasn’t been specified.
“We are organising the sometimes confusing financial information into ‘what the client will get’ and ‘what it will cost’. The implementation of a financial calculator helps us funnel the clients onto their best-suited lender. Meeting both needs,” says Bowren.
Fincheck was found in November by two young entrepreneurs, Bowren and Chris Ball. Both founders are 25, which may make them appear to be inexperienced, but their education and working experience makes up for the young ages. Bowren has a BSc degree from the University of Cape Town in 2013. Afterwards, he worked as an engineer for WBHO. Ball has a BCom from the University of Stellenbosch and honors from UCT. He’s currently working for investment and wealth planning company AlphaWealth, but was the South Africa business developer for peer-to-peer lending platform Lendico.
The pair realised the need for lead allocation to lenders and banks. They found mass clients and borrowers were sending applications to lenders who, in turn, wouldn’t consider financing due to applicants not meeting minimum requirements. This, in turn, was a waste for all parties involved.
The company is strategically placed between the lender and borrower. With lenders requiring higher quality leads that meet their requirements, Fincheck is able to provide those in the form of better conversions. The borrower requires a transparent look at rates charged by lenders.
The company is bootstrapped and generates income by lead generation though the founders prefer to think of it as a lead ‘allocator’. There is a sense of irony with the bootstrapping of a financial services comparison company. Bowren said the pair will be seeking external funding in the first quarter of 2016.
According to Bowren, 2014 saw South Africa having the highest indebtedness in the world with 84% of the population falling into debt. He questions whether this was cause by consumers not understanding the costs involved in taking out loans, or applying at an incorrect and more expensive institution than what is required.
Fincheck’s target market for its services is the general population, but is currently restricted by smartphones and internet penetration. This restriction also falls into place with marketing as the service is digital only.
The startup aims to grow its South African footprint and becoming a leader in the financial information, education, and comparison market. Bowren says Fincheck must be the first port of call for up-to-date information on fee increases and the like. The co-founders have already purchased domains for four other African countries, which they’ll be expanding to in the future, but didn’t mention which ones.