Thursday, 9 August 2018

Introducing the CowryWise savings platform

CowryWise is a personal finance app that enables people save by making automated deductions from their account. Money saved is then invested in money market securities.



CowryWise is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and Lagos State Government as a cooperative and multipurpose society.
CowryWise is run by a team of 3 comprising Razak Ahmed, Edward Popoola, and Feyisayo Shonubi. Razak serves as the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the company, Edward the Chief Techonology Officer (CTO), while Feyisayo is in charge of product design.
Target market for the app are small savers who the team feels are underserved by the banks. Interest rates by banks are around 3-4% per annum, excluding account maintenance fees and other charges. Banks also tend to focus on large deposits which yield a higher return.

Pros

  • Easy to open: Opening a CowryWise account takes less than 5 minutes. The instructions are quite simple.
  • Entry amount is quite low: Minimum amount one can start saving is N100. Other competitors in the same space have a much higher entry level.
  • Automated deductions: The selected amount is automatically deducted from the account linked to the ATM card as at when due.
  • No charges: CowryWise has no charges for deposits/withdrawals/alerts.
  • Interest accrued is displayed: Interest accrues on a daily basis and is shown in a dashboard that’s clearly displayed.
  • Safety of funds: Depositors funds are warehoused with a trustee (Meristem trustees) for safe keeping.

Cons

  • Website is not mobile friendly.
  • Age Limit: 18+ .
  • One product: Aside saving, CowryWise offers no other investment options.

What do they do with depositors' funds?

Depositors funds are invested in money market securities. Money market securities are short term assets with a maturity period of one year or less. They include Treasury bills, Bankers acceptances, and Commercial papers. In order to guarantee safety, the funds are warehoused with Meristem trustees.

How do they make money?

Operating online means CowryWise is able to avoid the costs of running a conventional brick and mortar bank.

Alternatives or competition:

CowryWise doesn’t operate alone in this space. Other alternatives have higher minimum amount that can be saved.

Response from CowryWise:

CowryWise has improved the user interface on its website to be more mobile friendly. The team does not see commercial banks as a threat, as their focus is on the unbanked. As for the age limit, the team has taken note and will rectify it.

Click here to sign up for CowryWise

Please consult a financial adviser before opening an account.