Telkom has become the latest telecommunications operator to muscle into the banks’ traditional area of expertise, this time offering loans to small businesses.

The company said it now offers smaller companies funding of up to R5-million within 24 hours.

Telkom Lend offers an end-to-end digital process with zero paperwork, promising an answer to applicants in a fraction of the time it takes banks to provide loans to small businesses, it said.

Funding ranges from R20 000 to R5-million, depending on monthly turnover. Funding can be paid back over three to 12 months on a daily or weekly basis, depending on business cash flow, said Telkom Financial Services managing executive Sibusiso Ngwenya in a statement.

“Applications are checked for eligibility with Telkom’s proprietary automated scoring model. This saves time and gives business owners a chance to focus on their businesses instead of filling in forms and standing in queues,” Ngwenya said.

“Money will be paid into the account once approved within 24 hours to use for various needs, including expanding a business, purchasing equipment or renovating premises.”

Early settlement of debt will qualify for a discount, with no penalties for settling the outstanding balance early.

To apply, businesses must have been in operation for at least six months, have a monthly turnover of more than R30 000, and have a trading history of at least three months. Companies do not have to be customers of Telkom Business to apply.

Financial services are becoming an increasingly lucrative area for telecoms operators in South Africa, with many offering insurance products, including funeral insurance, to their mass-market customer bases.  – NewsCentral Media