Free 22seven strategy eyes SA growth

2014-09-03 11:03 - Duncan Alfreds,Fin24
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22seven is eyeing expansive SA growth with a free offer. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Cape Town - Now that financial management app 22seven is free, it is expected to make further inroads as a tool to help South Africans manage their cash.

The company announced on Tuesday that it was dropping the subscription fee for the application as part of a strategy to expand.

"We're very happy with where it is and how it's growing. In terms of quality, the app is truly helping our users. And it's going to get better and better," Christo Davel, CEO of 22seven told Fin24.

The application helps people manage their finances by linking to bank accounts. The app analyses your financial position based on the data in the accounts.

When the service launched, it required users to pay a R70 per month fee, but Davel said that this created a challenge.

Smartphones

"We know that a subscription fee - any subscription fee - is an obstacle for some people. We've had potential customers tell us that. So the free offering lifts that obstacle," he said.

On Google's Play Store, the app has been downloaded just short of 5 000 times and attracted positive reviews.

"Best app ever I have downloaded so far... I'm running KitKat on S4..Very smooth I must say... and its free," wrote a user called Afika Soyamba, reflecting the majority opinion.

Despite being free, the company said that privacy of financial data would not be compromised.

"We have always said that respecting our customers' privacy and security is paramount, and that has not changed, nor will it change. If we betray that trust, we don’t deserve to be in business," the firm said.

The app can potentially benefit from increased migration to smartphones in SA and tough economic conditions.

Figures from the Reserve Bank indicate that credit growth was at 8.69% as South Africans struggled to make ends meet.

Revenue

The Effective Measure South African Mobile Report found that 81.6% of smartphone owners used their phone to access internet services.

Of those, nearly two thirds (62.4%) were on contract with 49.1% using 1GB per month or less. A whopping 72% of South Africans planned to buy an internet enabled handset with the next year, the survey showed.

Davel said that expansion to new customers should accelerate now that the service was free.

"We know how valuable and useful the service is. We have existing customers tell us that. With our plans for 22seven, we're giving people even more reason to use it; and by taking away the fee, we're giving people less reason not to."

But he was more guarded about how the company would earn revenue on the free platform.

"We've been able to consider how we make money. We've also been able to take a longer view. We can now continue to focus on what's best for our customers - giving them increased awareness about their money habits, and then helping them make more with what money they have."


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