Financial Inclusion | June 8, 2021

Abhi raises $2 million to help Pakistani workers access earned wages

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, June 8 – Nearly 80% of Pakistan’s 217 million people don’t have a bank account; just 1% have access to formal credit. Karachi-based Abhi’s fintech platform helps workers access wages as they earn them, instead of waiting for bi-weekly or monthly paychecks.

Abhi is among a growing crop of “salary advance” companies aiming to improve livelihoods by helping workers manage their finances without payday loans or other forms of extractive debt. “Salary ‘advance’ is misleading, since it’s access to the wages you’ve already earned,” explained Misbah Naqvi of Pakistani VC firm i2i Ventures, which backed Abhi (see, “In Pakistan, investing with a gender lens gives i2i Ventures an early-stage edge”).

Companies like Hastee and Wagestream in the U.K., and PayMeNow in South Africa, offer similar services.

“It’s a moral imperative as much as it’s a business imperative. Access to earned wages is a fundamental right,” Naqvi added.

Abhi raises $2 million to help Pakistani workers access wages. Abhi’s terms are Islamic-finance compliant, MENABytes reports.

The company’s seed round was led by the Swedish emerging-markets venture capital firm Vostok Emerging Finance. Pakistan-based Sarmayacar, U.S.-based Village Global and U.K.-based Zayn Capital also invested.