Unpacking Gathr: Module 1 – Affordability

In the rapidly evolving world of fintech, seamless digital onboarding and verification of customers are critical components for success. Gathr, a sophisticated API-driven solution, aims to revolutionise the industry by enabling companies to offer fintech products within a digital ecosystem effortlessly. In this guide we aim to unpack the standout features of Module 1 – which assesses a customer’s affordability which assists in streamlining the onboarding process for our clients.  

Before we dive right into unpacking Module 1, let’s take a closer look at Gathr, what it is, why we built it and a quick summary of each of our modules.  

What is Gathr?  

In a nutshell, Gathr is a KYC (know-your-customer) solution aimed at simplifying digital verification and onboarding. A KYC solution in fintech refers to the set of processes and technologies that financial institutions and other regulated companies use to verify and gather information about their customers’ identities and assess potential risks associated with them. The goal of any KYC solution is to ensure the customer they are engaging with is legitimate and trustworthy. In the digital age, where financial services are increasingly offered through online platforms and apps, KYC solutions have become essential for complying with regulations, and mitigating risk.  

After seeing how drop-off rates in application processes were massively impacting the cost of capital, we decided to build our own digital onboarding solution – Gathr. Since then, Gathr has processed transactions for 1.2 million users (and counting), and we’ve partnered with the biggest telcos and financial institutions in SA to start with. 

Gathr presents a comprehensive digital ecosystem that facilitates customer onboarding, identity verification, and information gathering. Whether a company needs a plug-and-play solution or wants to build its verification process using APIs, Gathr offers the flexibility to cater to various requirements. 

Why use Gathr? 

Clients opt for Gathr for several reasons, each geared towards optimising their financial operations: 

  • Reduced human error & fraud: Gathr’s sophisticated verification process results in up to a 43% increase in completed applications, significantly reducing human error and fraudulent activities. 
  • Enhanced customer onboarding: By streamlining the onboarding process, Gathr enables businesses to onboard 40% more customers efficiently, thereby boosting their overall productivity. 
  • Overcoming fragmented technology: The integration of various legacy systems often leads to fragmented processes, causing frustration among stakeholders. Gathr unifies the verification process, leading to a more cohesive and efficient workflow. 
  • Access to raw data at scale: With Gathr, businesses gain access to crucial data, empowering them to make informed decisions, such as loan-scoring determinations and setting collection dates. 

Gathr’s modularity is one of its standout features, enabling businesses to use any combination of modules and verifications based on their unique needs.  

Overview of all our Gathr modules  

Module 2: Verify bank account for collections  

This is the solution for you if you are wanting to verify that a particular applicant is the owner of the bank account they claim. 

Module 3: Validate ID documents 

This module verifies South Africa Citizens in seconds, automatically. We use state-of-the-art facial and document recognition technology to make sure your customers are who they say they are, at a fraction of the cost of a manual process.  

Module 4: Validate & Verify 

Match and verify a South African ID with Home Affairs, and check that the individual is alive. Verify a South African ID document or driver’s license against Home Affairs, and check that it has not been tampered with.

Module 5: Validate proof of address  

This module reads a document address and verifies against application data. This search function allows us to read and utilise numerous documents in the address verification process  

Module 6: Credit report & scoring  

This solution runs a credit bureau check and pulls credit report data. It’s a detailed summary of the credit history and payment records from a customer’s credit accounts. 

What are the steps for a seamless integration with Gathr?   


What is Gathr Module 1 – Assessing affordability?  

One of Gathr’s powerful modules is Module 1, which provides a detailed assessment of a customer’s affordability and account ownership. This module proves invaluable for financial institutions or companies seeking in-depth insights into an individual’s financials. Some of the key functionalities of Module 1 include: 

  • Bank account verification: Module 1 verifies whether the applicant is the rightful owner of the provided bank account, eliminating any chances of identity theft or fraudulent activities. 
  • Transactional analysis: By analysing a customer’s transactions, the module checks for sufficient transaction activity, ensuring a reliable underwriting and risk analysis process. 
  • Income & expense evaluation: Gathr’s Module 1 reads all incomes and expenses, accurately calculating an applicant’s average monthly expenses and identifying their primary income source. 
  • Debit order obligations: The module efficiently identifies monthly debit order obligations, allowing financial institutions to gauge a customer’s existing financial commitments. 
  • Comprehensive transaction retrieval: With Module 1, businesses can access a detailed breakdown of all transactions, line by line, providing a complete overview of an individual’s financial history. 

What does the USSD Feature involve?  

Gathr’s USSD feature enhances accessibility by allowing users to leverage existing USSD infrastructure to digitise their bank statements. By simply using their registered mobile number, customers can send their bank statements for processing, categorisation, and storage.  

What are the benefits of this feature? 

  • Broadens the market for mobile banking users (people who do not have online banking or app banking) 
  • Digitises their transactional and account data 
  • Categorises data and builds reports 

Both Capitec and FNB USSD now available.  

How does this work?  

Our new Capitec & FNB process enables us to get data from USSD. USSD allows customers to access various banking services using their mobile phones. USSD codes are short, numeric strings that customers can enter on their mobile devices to interact with specific bank’s system e.g., *120*3279#.  

For our Gathr clients, this value-add means they have another avenue of getting access to a user’s bank statements. No login permissions or API integration needed. Let’s say a user doesn’t have the latest smart phone or internet access, this new USSD process allows our clients to pull data without a user having to manually download and upload bank statements. Instead, it will be directly sent to our Gathr backend where our validation and parsing happens. Our USSD feature means that our Gathr clients are one step closer in catering to all of their clients in the most accessible way. 

Case studies for our Module 1 – Affordability  


In partnership with Transunion, Gathr’s affordability analysis solution is used in MTN stores nationwide. This partnership provides a great example of what can be achieved when fintechs actively collaborate to both improve infrastructure and the lives of consumers. 

For MTN, this means thousands of customers are now able to fully verify their bank accounts and transactional information, digitally. Previously the entire bank statement collection process was a mashup of manual downloads, uploads, printing, and scanning. This involved lots of wasted hours for both the customer and telco. MTN’s customers now have the added bonus of running a fraud score in the process. The retrieval methods a customer can use include an online banking process or manual uploads from their device should they prefer.  

We have already helped process over 140,000 bank statements for MTN. 

Another telecommunications company which we assisted, was Vodacom. The telco introduced VodaLend Cash Advance as part of its financial services suite available through the VodaPay super app. This product is designed to offer underbanked customers quick and secure access to funds when needed urgently. It aims to provide financial inclusion to those who historically faced barriers due to high fees and complex paperwork. 

VodaLend Cash Advance allows Vodacom customers to access cash advances ranging from R50 to R500, with repayment options over different periods. The credit decision process considers not only traditional affordability checks but also the customer’s recharge and payment behaviour, making it accessible to more individuals, including first-time borrowers. Once approved, the money is directly deposited into the user’s VodaPay Wallet and can be used for various in-app purchases and transactions. 

To enhance its affordability assessment and risk analysis, Vodacom is utilising Gathr’s Module 1. This module offers detailed insights into a customer’s financial situation to enhance its ability to assess customers’ affordability and financial reliability accurately. This integration aligns with Vodacom’s commitment to providing accessible and convenient financial services, especially for underbanked individuals, while also addressing the specific financial needs of its customers. 

Financial institutions: 

Nedbank has integrated Gathr’s Module 1 into their loan application journey to enhance the financial assessment process for eligibility. This module offers a robust analysis of a customer’s financial situation, which is crucial for a comprehensive understanding of their affordability and account ownership. These functions include:  Transactional Analysis of Income & Expense Evaluation, Debit Order Obligations, and Strike Date Accuracy.

Nedbank enhances their loan application process with a deeper understanding of applicants’ financial circumstances. This, in turn, enables them to make more accurate lending decisions and provide better financial solutions to their customers. 


Indlu, a housing-focused initiative, is utilising Module 1 from Gathr’s suite of tools to enhance their application journey for housing solutions.  
Indlu operates in a context of robust underserved markets, with a significant housing backlog in South Africa and across the continent due to rapid urbanization. Informal settlements and backyard rental rooms have emerged as responses to the housing shortage. However, the lack of access to capital hampers the development of these solutions, even though they generate substantial rental income. 

To address these challenges, Indlu incorporates Gathr’s Module 1 into their application process. Module 1 is a powerful tool designed to provide comprehensive insights into a customer’s financial situation. It offers several key functionalities that are especially useful for financial institutions or regulated companies: 

Indlu leverages Module 1 to gain a deeper understanding of their applicants’ financial capacities. This allows them to make more informed decisions about housing solutions and financing options. By verifying bank account ownership, analysing financial transactions, evaluating income and expenses, and identifying existing commitments, Indlu can tailor their offerings to each applicant’s financial profile. This approach enhances the accuracy of their underwriting and risk assessment processes, making housing opportunities more accessible to those in need while also mitigating financial risks. 

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