Democratising smart money decisions during lockdown

By Janice Roberts

Social isolation during this 21-day lockdown is bound to impact people’s wellbeing and mental health. Combined with South Africa’s high rate of unemployment and the rising tide of debt, we might very well be sitting on a ticking time bomb. Keeping busy and productive can help alleviate the symptoms of stress and the feeling of helplessness in this unprecedented time. By learning new skills and increasing your knowledge, you can make a difference to your circumstances. 

Financial literacy is the most significant barrier to financial inclusion which remains elusive in South Africa. Almost a third of South Africans don’t even have a bank account and finance is barely taught in schools. The information available is often overly complicated, and existing education tools are either manual, expensive, not measurable or have prohibitive user requirements. 

To help South Africans improve their financial literacy, Momentum has teamed up with FinEazy, and the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation (NPC). FinEazy is a mission-driven technology venture that improves financial literacy in Africa through an artificial intelligence chatbot that teaches the user about finances. This partnership will provide a free financial literacy course that South Africans can do in the comfort of their homes over the lockdown period.

According to Claire Klassen, Momentum Consumer Financial Education Specialist, “The course is designed to improve the way emerging financial consumers manage their money fundamentally. This will enable them to make informed decisions when it comes to finances and help protect themselves, their families, communities, and the economy at large.”

Participants can choose which characters they want to associate with and messages are delivered by the chatbot which fits seamlessly into a person’s existing communication behaviours.

This platform personalises the learning experience and can be accessed through common messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or a Web Interface. “It will be just like messaging a friend and can be done at your own speed and in your own time,” says Klassen.

To encourage participation, Momentum has launched a competition, which will be run in conjunction with the free course. Prizes will include a smartphone and a two-week, paid, remote work experience with FinEazy. The winner will get daily catch ups with the team, receive coaching and mentorship from the CEO, and exposure to all areas of the business. At the end of the two weeks, they will hopefully receive comprehensive and glowing recommendations to boost their CV. 

“Understanding finance shouldn’t be reserved for the highly educated and privileged portions of the population. We believe it is part of a person’s dignity to be able to make informed financial decisions, especially in these unpredictable times,” says Monique Baars, CEO of FinEazy.

The course is accessible through both Facebook Messenger and a Web Interface. Both courses can be accessed immediately using the following links to get started with the financial literacy course material:

Start the FinEazy course on Facebook Messenger

Start the FinEazy course on a Web Interface

Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: