Stokvel has gone digital with Franc, a new application that ensure easy and affordable investing for individuals with smartphones.

Franc gives stokvel members access to the money market and an exchange traded fund through their mobile phones. Franc has no minimum investment amount. You can withdraw or transfer money anytime without penalty and there are no hidden charges. For the first six months, access to Franc is free after which the membership fee is R5 per month. Members can get another six months free for every friend they invite who becomes a member in the first free six months.

“We are excited about bringing Franc to SA consumers for the first time during Savings Month,” says Dr Thomas Brennan, founder of Franc, and ex-head of digital innovation of Discovery Health. “South Africa has one of the lowest savings rates in the world: for the vast majority of South Africans, accessing investment opportunities is expensive and difficult. This is something that we want to change with Franc, which is now the most affordable way to access the money market and exchange traded funds. Financial services usually offer complex products with high fees, which reduces the value for the consumer, especially over the long run”, says Brennan. “We have removed all the barriers and only kept what really works. No more dealing with brokers, no more paperwork, and no more complicated fine print – everything is done through the mobile app. Franc brings increased value and wealth creation via passive investments to everyone, whilst encouraging them to save more.”

“Stokvel members simply choose how much they would like to invest, how often and how they would like to split their investment. They can choose between the lower-risk Allan Gray Money Market Fund or the higher risk Satrix 40 ETF, or a combination of the two,” he added.

Franc is a member of AlphaCode, the fintech investment arm of Rand Merchant Investment Holdings. Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode comments, “What we find most interesting about Franc is how Brennan has adapted a large global fintech business model like Robinhood for the local nuances of the South African market. Combining technology, user experience, low cost and traditional savings methods like a stokvel is smart and we believe that Franc will impact the market.”