Business News 19.4.2016 02:33 pm

Fincheck widens offering

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

Consumers can now compare 26 financial products.

Financial product comparison website Fincheck has broadened its offering. Consumers can now compare 26 financial products from 106 financial institutions to find one that best suits their needs and, more importantly, their wallets.

Previously the start-up, which is modelled on the British price-comparison website Moneysupermarket.com, only offered comparisons between four types: payday loans (micro-loans), debt consolidation, personal loans and student loans. The site now has a much wider variety, ranging from unit trusts and tax-free savings accounts to business accounts and vehicle finance. It also lists bursaries.

Fincheck CEO and co-founder Michael Bowren, says the main purpose of the site is to improve South Africans’ levels of financial literacy and to reduce indebtedness.

“It’s about helping people to avoid loan sharks and Ponzi schemes. All the lenders, banks and partners that you see on the site are registered credit providers in South Africa,” says Bowren, adding that in each category the site allows people to compare key areas of concern. For example for loans, the site will compare interest rates, and the minimum and maximum loan amounts and terms.

“We pull comparison figures, which we think would be most important to the consumer. So we look at interest rates, product deliveries, the minimum income you need in order to qualify for various products…. It’s very product-specific, so what we would compare among unit trusts would be different to what we would compare for shares and debit cards, for example.”

Bowren adds it has built in a mechanism that directs people to find the right credit provider for the amount they are looking for, because there has been an increasing amount of people applying for small amounts at the big banks. So the site suggests lenders based on the amount needed.

List of products

Category Product
Loans Personal, payday, student, home, vehicle finance, peer-to-peer lending, secured, bursaries
Money Cheque accounts, credit cards, debit cards, debt consolidation, travel cards, Islamic banking, mobile money
Business Business accounts, forex, merchant terminals, online payment gateways
Investments Education funds, equity funds, fixed deposits, retirement funds, share trading, tax-free savings, unit trusts

Source: Fincheck

Bowren is hesitant to share actual statistics, but says the site is growing rapidly, with visits quadrupling in January this year and at least doubling in every month since then.

He says that Fincheck decided against entering the insurance space, but expects more financial service providers to partner up with it as it grows to become what he hopes will be “the financial shopping centre of South Africa”.

Says Bowren: “We’ve got to expand and get more in-depth with the products that we have. [For] one of the offerings, we will be partnering up with a credit bureau and we will be offering free credit checks”.

There will also be a ‘fraud alert’ function whereby, if the credit bureau picks up that there has been fraudulent activity – whether through someone else using your ID number or someone swiping your  card – users will be notified through the site.

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