But stokvels have gone digital too and Tshepo Moloi, entrepreneur and founder of StokFella, is changing how stokvels work.
Moloi launched a stokvel app in February to help stokvels, saving clubs and societies manage their contributions and savings through their smartphones.
The app is aimed at administrators who carry the burden of managing the stokvel’s financial activities.
Most stokvels and other groups depend on a treasurer, who can manage the group’s financial matters, but this can be tricky when not every member has a smartphone.
While banks seem to be his competition, his business concept is still unique.
“Many have said that we’re competing against online stokvel platforms that banks have produced, but our focus is on phones.
“While some see us as direct competition, we see working relationships between us and the banks that will push the stokvel market to the next level.
“We also believe that our success relies on our business’ agility and efficiency, as well as the experience our team has with our target market,” he said.
Moloi said they were not ignorant of the barriers brought on by the lack of trust the older generation had for new technology as well as financial illiteracy.
“To tackle all these factors, we realised early on that we have to approach individuals directly through face-to-face or direct marketing.
To make this happen, we plan to host monthly demonstrations of our app in various communities by people from those same communities,” he said.
According to Moloi, smartphone penetration in Mzansi sits at 53%. And as more affordable smartphones enter the market, it’s only a matter of time before most people own a smartphone.
With smartphone technology, he believes stokvels – which are an under-serviced industry – can positively impact the country’s economic growth.
The StokFella app can be downloaded from Google Play for Android devices and iOS for Apple devices.