Home-grown start up Paymenow is now offering its 50,000+ users the ability to buy food from Shoprite directly in the Paymenow app.

The company has expanded its offerings, just more than a year since it launched as a customised solution to offer South Africans responsible early access to a percentage of already earned wages.

Employees, who have signed up on the Paymenow app, have the ability to fund a Shoprite Money Market Account, which acts as a virtual wallet so that they can redeem their funds at any Shoprite, uSave or Checkers store as well as send grocery vouchers to family or friends anywhere across South Africa – at the touch of a button.

Deon Nobrega, Paymenow MD, says this is “just another way in which Paymenow is looking to help our users stretch their money further and allow affordable, responsible access to necessity items.”

These necessities include food, prepaid airtime and prepaid electricity.

“Ever since founding Paymenow, we have always wanted to allow employees the ability to stretch the little bit that they have that much further,” says business development head, Bryan Habana.

The provision of these value-added services, at much reduced fees, has taken off better than anticipated. Since they were launched in late March, Paymenow has seen almost 15% of all transactions going towards the purchase of airtime, data, and electricity.

Electricity can be bought for any municipality that supports the prepaid system, while airtime and data can be purchased across any one of South Africa’s mobile network operators.

Following on from the success of its Shoprite partnership, Paymenow will be rolling out a similar offering to Pick n Pay and Boxer Superstores, which will allow Paymenow users to buy essential grocery items, airtime, data, and prepaid electricity from more than 700 stores nationwide.

Habana adds that Paymenow is working on adding other necessity-type value-added services to its offerings. “With real inflation seemingly much higher than the official 3.2%, we want to help as many South Africans as possible stretch their rand when it comes to life’s necessities.”