SPENN, a financial technology firm with operations in Rwanda and I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc on Thursday introduced a new savings product in the local market in a bid to drive up savings.
The new savings product is free of charge, has unlimited withdrawal options and funds saved will earn a 4 per cent annual interest.
The new product is an intervention to change the low savings culture in Rwanda often attributed to few products tailored to clients’ needs.
The savings account allows users to set savings goals, check the progress of their savings, and does not require a minimum amount to receive interest, the firm said.
In Rwanda, SPENN is powered by I&M Bank which facilitated the debut of the firm in the local market in 2018.
The savings account, SPENN and I&M Bank said, will diversify savings options allowing and empowering more Rwandans to access formal financial services as well as make savings.
The 2020 Finscope Survey on Financial Inclusion published by the Access to Finance Rwanda found that savings are a leading driver of financial inclusion in Rwanda with a majority of adults seeking avenues to make savings for asset acquisition, use as collateral among other purposes.
However, the study also found only 48 per cent of adults have a formal savings product with most using informal means which do not create financial history of the user.
Norbert Haguma, the Country Manager of SPENN Rwanda said that the new product is tailored for users across all market segments and will serve to boost savings culture. He said that the product is tailored for users aiming at both significant and smaller savings.
“We are convinced this is the right time to remind Rwandans of the importance of building a culture of saving. We are committed to offering a product that suits different needs and saving goals, particularly during this time of uncertainty. The new savings product complements our existing functionalities, to provide Rwandans with a very convenient bank in your pocket.” he said.
Unlike other saving products, users are able to move their money at any time and anywhere at no charges, all that is required is a smartphone, he added.
SPENN which entered the Rwandan market in 2018 as part of the I&M Rwanda Brand has an agency network of about 9,000 agents across the country, close to 300,000 users and a total transaction value of about Rwf11.8B.
The expansive agency network rely on agents and cooperation with merchants to serve as agencies, has enabled them improve access to financial services across the country with improved convenience.
This also responds to concerns in the Finscope 2020 survey that noted the need for improvements to reduce the time taken to reach financial access points to stimulate ease of access to financial services which can be achieved through an agency network.
Robin Bairstow, the Chief Executive I&M Bank Rwanda said the development differentiates the brand in the local market for pursuing innovative solutions that create sustainable value.
“Saving provides financial security. And the more you save, the more secure you will be. I&M Bank’s partnership with SPENN will continue to differentiate itself by pursuing innovative solutions that create sustainable value for all our customers and stakeholders,” he said.
Faustin Byishimo the Executive Director at I&M Bank Rwanda said that by working with SPENN, the Bank has been able to increase numbers of customers served beyond the traditional banking model to reach close to 300,000 users in the last three years.
This he said has allowed quality financial inclusion as well as improved access to services even in areas not served by Bank branches.
The fintech has a target of about 2 million clients by the end of next year.
SPENN is accepted as a payment method across the country and is built on blockchain technology. The app is available for free on Google play and App store. Users are able to make payment for goods and services at merchant outlets at no extra cost. Users can also purchase airtime and pay bills, as well as transfer funds to a SPENN account via bank transfers from any bank. In addition, users can also send and receive money between SPENN and mobile money.Follow https://twitter.com/ByCollinsMwai