Two South African fintechs, alternative lender Merchant Capital and online payment specialist Payflex, have launched a cash advance solution that aims to breathe new life into South Africa’s growing small and mid-sized retail sector.

Known as FlexiAdvance powered by Merchant Capital, the offering is customised and backed by technology to allow access to funding within 24 hours of application, with a flexible repayment mechanism based on monthly turnover. Retailers can apply through the Payflex portal, and tailor their funding to suit their individual business needs, without the burden of onerous paperwork and documentation.

Ryan Cohen, the Co-Founder and Chief Relationship Officer at Merchant Capital, said the solution would give Payflex merchants quick and easy access to funds to use how they see fit.

Payflex CEO Paul Behrmann said that Payflex’s online merchants are achieving up to 30% higher average order values, larger purchases and significant revenue increases when offering Payflex Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) as a payment option. “FlexiAdvance is a significant value-add for our merchants, who can now access flexible funding through the Payflex platform.”

Payflex is a pioneer of the rapidly growing BNPL market in South Africa with over 1,500 merchants. BNPL allows shoppers to pay for their online purchases in a series of four equal interest-free installments.

Merchant Capital is an established provider of working capital to SMEs, and has assisted more than 15,000 SMEs with working capital of close to R3 billion over the past nine years.

FlexiAdvance will use Merchant’s Capital’s funding technology, combined with Payflex’s payment technology to bring Payflex’s growing merchant base a working capital solution. Payflex merchants will have access to both Merchant Capital’s alternative lending to fund their businesses, and Payflex’s BNPL solution to drive increased sales.

“We’re extremely excited about the collaboration with Payflex, as we share the same founding principle of offering innovative and agile fintech products to the South African market,” said Cohen.

Cohen said the small retail sector was bouncing back well from the effects of the pandemic, with many SMEs undertaking projects that had been delayed due to the uncertainty caused by Covid-19. “This sentiment bodes well for 2022 with a greater sense of predictability and optimism in the economy,” he said.

About Merchant Capital 
Merchant Capital was established in 2012 as an alternative provider of working capital, designed initially for retail SMEs in South Africa. The alternative lender has over the years assisted close on 15,000 SMEs with working capital to the tune of close to R3bn and has expanded its offering to the Services industry, including automotive and medical businesses. Merchant Capital was started in response to the high failure rate among small businesses caused by lack of funding. The company’s vision is to become the leading provider of disruptive financial services products to small and medium businesses in emerging markets. Because the company was created by entrepreneurs who really understand what running a business is about, Merchant Capital knows small businesses can’t rely on easy access to traditional options. Due to the need for trusty cash flow alternatives, Merchant Capital uses a unique funding and payment model to provide a working capital injection for early stage and growing businesses.

About Payflex
Payflex allows consumers to shop now and pay later, interest-free. After partnering with Zip, which has over 9.9 million customers worldwide, Payflex localised the technology platform to offer the first buy now pay later (BNPL) solution in South Africa. Payflex launched with (SA’s leading online fashion merchant) in 2019 and is now offered at over 1,500 online merchants. Payflex customers can apply in seconds and pay with any Visa, Mastercard or American Express card.

Submitted by Turquoise PR & Marketing Communications