How Ghana’s Pennysmart helps users save on their own terms

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Ghanaian fintech startup Pennysmart is helping users save money on their own terms and earn interest of 12 per cent per annum.

Launched in January after acquiring a tier-four operator license from the Bank of Ghana, Pennysmart enables individuals to save toward their own set goals at their own pace, while businesses can create third-party goals for their users to save towards.

Users set their targets, and the schedule of contributions, and receive interest of 12 per cent per annum. Pennysmart monetises from investing the assets it holds under management. So far, the startup has more than 300 users, each saving an average of US$90 on a monthly basis.

The startup was launched after the two founders, Joshua Oguntade and Yao Baku, met at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Accra, and resolved to build a solution that made savings more accessible to Africans.

“We noticed access to wealth management services was expensive, and the know your customer (KYC) to access them was cumbersome. The mobile money market in Africa allows the layman to access financial services with the barest form of KYC – their phone number and email,” Oguntade said.

Pennysmart claims to be the first mobile money-centric digital wealth management service provider, and has been pleased with uptake since launch.

“The uptake has been impressive, with our offering more tailored towards a blend of lifestyle and finance. Our automated mobile money recurring payments have seen more users exceed their goals by three times to five times than they would have with a traditional bank,” said Oguntade.

Currently serving the Ghanaian market, the startup has wider continental ambitions, and is in the process of raising an angel round.

“With our mobile money focus, we are currently integrating with other financial services in the Ghanaian market. We are planning on expanding to other African countries with heavy mobile money usage in the near future,” said Oguntade.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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