Philip Belamant owns several businesses, one of which is a Top 40 Fintech Company called Manje. With Manje, customers receive an advance of funds loaded onto a swipe card that they can use to purchase food, clothes, and other necessities. They repay the funds to Manje in a few installments without having to pay interest on top of it. Although Manje introduced major disruption in the traditional financial services industry, Philip Belamant initially received little buy-in from companies that wanted to participate.
Retail and Food Industries Push Back
When Philip Belamant first launched Manje, he assumed that he would not have any trouble finding companies that would want to partner with him. As a way to prevent customers from misusing their swipe cards, he made sure they were only valid at stores that sold necessities and only for certain items.
Unfortunately, Belamant encountered mostly resistance from businesses that were not accustomed to this way of doing things. He quickly found a way around the pushback by charging customers a flat fee to join the program and selecting stores they already shopped at a lot anyway.
Philip Belamant soon saw his inability to form retail partnerships as a blessing in disguise. Because of the way he designed Manje, South Africans could stop using high-interest forms of credit such as payday loans and pivot to using low-cost credit that did not tack on a monthly interest charge. People saw Manje stay true to its word and trusted the company when purchasing mobile airtime, paying for electricity and other services, and receiving small, short-term loans to purchase everyday essentials.
Philip Belamant Relies on the Same Type of Industry Disruption When Creating Zilch
Zilch is a buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment platform that works with customers directly. Instead of telling them where they can use credit, Zilch allows customers to choose where they want to shop. The app connects with customers in real-time to monitor whether they are spending within their budget and borrowing only what they have the realistic ability to repay. Customers benefit by staying connected in this way because it helps them avoid late fees, high interest, and low credit limits they would encounter elsewhere.
What Does the Future Hold for the University of Johannesburg Graduate?
Since creating Zilch in 2018, Philip Belamant has focused most of his time and energy on managing that company. Belamant’s career as an entrepreneur working for financial inclusion and fairness started 16 years ago when he left college with an Information Technology degree. He plans to continue creating applications that provide true access for underserved and unbanked communities in South Africa and the surrounding countries.
As a millennial himself, Philip Belamant understands this demographic and the financial solutions that work best for them. Having already sold mobile payment services and several add-on value solutions in 25 countries, he plans to continue pursuing his interests of technology and entrepreneurship while helping those most financial organizations would rather ignore.