Techpreneur Raeesa Gabriels is shaking up the financial services industry by disrupting the conventional 30-day pay cycle and taking on exploitative payday lenders with her new fintech solution Level Finance. The daily money management platform allows employees to build wealth through automated savings and access to pay when they need it - all before payday arrives.
“The earned wage access concept is being used by companies in the US and the UK with great success and I believe that we really need it here. Level Finance will get millions of South African employees out of debt and into a position of building wealth," Gabriels explains.
Ramifications of extreme lending
Gabriels experienced the ramifications of extreme lending when her domestic worker was exploited by a ruthless loan shark who confiscated her ID book when she couldn’t keep up with his exorbitant interest rates. “She feared for her safety and had to flee her home,” says Gabriels. She felt compelled to come up with a solution to help her domestic worker and others who suffer the same fate.
Raeesa Gabriels, CEO, Level Finance
The platform enables employees to view their daily salary, offers access to their pay when they need it and the ability to save before payday arrives. Once an employer registers on Level Finance, employees can keep track of hours worked and money earned. Level Finance charges a subscription fee to employees to keep the app operational, which is only paid when an employee accesses the service to withdraw their pay.
“When engaging with employers and employees, we found there’s a genuine need for our solution. We’ve demonstrated tangible results for both,” says Gabriels.
Disrupting the financial services industry
The platform earned Gabriels a 12-month mentorship opportunity with the AlphaCode Incubate programme, which backs disruptive, groundbreaking businesses that make a meaningful impact on the financial services industry.
Says Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode: “South Africans are generally poor savers and tend to live above their means living with high levels of indebtedness. Level Finance allows workers access to money they have already earned to keep them away from loan sharks. This offering is a welcome solution to a gap in the South African financial services landscape.”
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