FNB targets unbanked businesses in townships

The bank has acquired 100 percent of fintech solutions company Selpal.

First National Bank has announced its 100 percent acquisition of financial technology solutions company Selpal. Selpal is a digital platform that connects suppliers to customers and already has an established footprint in South Africa’s township and rural businesses.

Details of the deal are unknown, but FNB says the purchase is in line with strategies to bring the informal economy online while providing valuable data and insights about the spaza shop sector.

FNB CEO Jacques Celliers says, “As the banking sector, we can accelerate financial inclusion through tailored financial services to elevate and develop these businesses.”

Selpal equips merchants with a point-of-sale device that enables them to view, order, and pay for stock without the merchant needing to leave their shop. Their product range includes value-added services such as airtime, data, electricity, gaming, DStv payments, and money transfers. Customers, store-traders, and street-sellers can also transact in e-wallet, which is safer than transacting in hard cash.

FNB Business CEO Gordon Little says the data and insights gathered through the devices will be highly instrumental in helping the bank develop more relevant products and solutions in the near future for the informal sector, including card/QR payment acceptance and credit access and various insurance products.

“This will help rural sector businesses grow and develop in a similar way that most formal businesses can via the formal financial system,” said Gordon.

“Our objective is to incentivise these entrepreneurs that run these types of businesses to adopt more formal financial services and get access to financial education and skills, access to funding, and access to markets.”