Econet’s Cassava Fintech International (CFI), a fintech arm of Econet’s Cassava Group which offers international remittance services to all African countries has launched Sasai, a social payments platform with instant messaging, social media and mobile payments like Wechat’s WechatPay in a move to disrupt payments in Africa.
According to Cassava Fintech International Group CEO, Darlington Mandivenga, Sasai will include Pay, Chat and Explore features. Chat and Explore features will be instantly available globally while the payment section will be launched in markets where Econet Wireless Mobile Network Group operates then to additional markets across Africa on an ongoing basis.
Econet aims to launch Sasai in at least eight markets by March 2020.
“Sasai is a digital platform where social interactions and payments converge. It stitches and weaves into one platform features and services which are typically offered by separate companies via different mobile apps to become a one-stop-shop without having to leave the app. Sasai is an All-in-One App to Pay, Chat and Explore”, said Mandivenga.
This Sasai is not the first platform in Africa to combine social messaging apps with the mobile money payments system. Kenya’s Safaricom has been working on Bonga for several months now and announced it months before the launch of Cassava Fintech in South Africa in February this year.
Safaricom’s Bonga Sasa aims to facilitate peer-to-peer messaging and money transfer while Bonga Baraza will be a fundraising feature for harambees while Bonga Biashara will be a business-focused chat and money transfer platform all integrated heavily on M-PESA.
Another Kenyan firm, Finserve Africa also unveiled mkey, a Keyboard app and digital wallet which allows users to deposit, save and borrow apart from spending. Users can deposit money using Equitel Mobile, Eazzy Banking, M-PESA, Equity Agents and many more to come. With money deposited, a user can send it to the bank, send to a mobile number, send it to a social media contact, pay bills, buy airtime, buy goods, get a loan or withdraw the cash. mKey aims to break the dependence on M-PESA, a mobile wallet which has its own limitations. mKey also allows access to social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp among others.
Econet Group is therefore not the first one to enter this social payments market.
Cassava says its value proposition has unique bolt-on services such as the Cassava Home Wallet and the Breadwinner services which offer remitting customer benefits that are not offered by its competitors.
The Home Wallet service enables customers to open mobile money wallets in their countries of origin and send money into these wallets from anywhere in the world. These funds can be used to perform all mobile money wallet functions as if the customer was back home, including paying utility bills,buying groceries for loved ones, or paying school fees. This decreases the risk of abuse and the use of funds for purposes other than what the sender had intended, which is a major challenge in most African markets.