Shazam Wants South Africans to “See Money Differently”

Music-recognition app Shazam has teamed up with Nedbank to give South Africans a different perspective on the currency in their pockets. The financial organisation’s latest #SeeMoneyDifferently campaign is combining Shazam’s smart visual recognition technology with storytelling and history in order to help South African users see money through different eyes.

Storytelling with Shazam

Based on the idea that the majority of South Africans will have a mobile phone and some cash in their pocket (cash usage is at 52.8% in the country), the Shazam-based application allows users to uncover financial inspiration by placing any note in front of their phone camera. When the app recognises the note and its denomination, it connects users to inspiring stories grown from that precise amount of money.

From soccer stars and opera singers, to business moguls, every amazing journey and incredible achievement starts somewhere – and needs just a little investment to get the ball rolling. A R10 note may look like a stick of gum or a bottle of water to the everyday South African, but the #SeeMoneyDifferently campaign demonstrates clearly that from little things big things can grow.

Why #SeeMoneyDifferently?

But what goal lurks behind the push for South Africans to look at money in a different way?

According to Shazam’s South African representative Hannes Prinsloo, the project was all about “educating people that if they manage their money well it can make a real difference in their lives”.

“South Africans have long struggled with the money-saving mentality. Our country has just entered a technical recession, we are seeing an increase in defaults in debt repayments, taxes have increased, and we need more small businesses to bolster the economy for us all.”

A united front

And it’s not just Nedbank and Shazam who are working to improve South African awareness and understanding of financial matters. From The Banking Association’s StarSaver children’s financial literacy programme and Wonga.co.za’s digital Money Academy resources for adults, to Old Mutual’s On The Money programme, there are now many organisations working to improve South African financial literacy.

As Prinsloo points out, South Africans are not the world’s best savers. In fact, South Africa is home to some of the highest levels of personal debt anywhere on the planet (in 2015 it was the world’s most personally indebted nation).

Why aren’t South Africans saving?

Many believe that this spending-not-saving habit is in part due to a lack of good financial education in the country. While a weak Rand, rising costs of living and a rollercoaster economy make it difficult for the average South African to save, not knowing how best to manage money is certainly not helping. But are apps and initiatives enough or is it time for Government to start investing in our financial future with a fit-for-purpose country-wide financial education programme?

Have you tried the #SeeMoneyDifferently app? Do you think Shazam’s creation will help South Africans think more carefully about their finances? How can we become a nation of savers? Have your say below.

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