Franc app

Cool factor 4/5
Usability 4½/5
Value for money Free

South Africans are spoilt for choice when it comes to fintech apps, with a variety of ways to save, manage money and invest in shares.

One such app, Franc, is hoping that its simple user experience, design and low fees will draw customers so that they start investing.

Once you sign up, you upload documents for verification. In the meantime, you can still browse and set goals for saving and investing. The app has four main tabs at the bottom: a main goal tab with relevant info, a transactions tab, a help section and a profile page.

You don’t need a minimum amount of money to create an investor profile, there’s no paperwork and you can track how your investment is doing in real time. Investments carry a 1% annual fee — R1 for every R100 invested — and money can be withdrawn whenever you want.

You have to add your banking details to the app.

Franc promises tight security through encryption and biometrics, and says it is governed by the regulations of the Collective Investment Schemes Control Act. It is a registered financial services provider.

I found the app easy to navigate, with a simple landing page that highlights the important bits. You can set a goal to save towards anything you have in mind, and can label it.

You can set a monthly contribution amount, a date and a risk type, and can view how your money is split — in an equity fund or a cash fund.

The equity fund is plugged into the Satrix Top 40, which tracks the 40 largest companies on the JSE by market capitalisation. According to Franc, if you choose this option you could earn 13%-16% a year over the long term.

The other option is a cash fund with Allan Gray, which could earn you 4% a year, without your money being locked away for months.

A risk assessment quiz is available to help you understand how much risk is right for you. This is useful for beginners who are still finding their way in the world of investing.

I found Franc to be fuss-free, with a clean user experience design that is welcoming to anyone who has never invested before. Additional support can be found on the Franc.app blog.

Other apps to consider when starting to invest are EasyEquities, Stash and 22seven.

Franc is available as a free download on the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery.

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