Hassle-free purchases through the power of software

Tech stack
MVP launch date
Ruby On Rails
July 2021
34 381 Subscribed shoppers & 360 stores

Creating connections between shoppers, merchants, and banks, Float is a fintech start up that is revolutionising the way credit is done!

The challenge

Float’s BNPL 2.0 model has put a new spin on the buy now, pay later concept. As a market-leading instalment payment platform that allows credit card holders to use the available limit on their credit card to split big orders over up to 24 interest-free monthly instalments.

Float's mission is to create a holistic experience that bridges cutting-edge technological solutions with the core financial aspirations of each customer, ultimately creating a slick and seamless interaction with each of their financial goals. Since Float works with existing credit, and does not issue consumers with new credit, it’s a financial tool that's not only super flexible, but also a far more responsible choice for making credit card purchases.

You may be wondering how Float actually works? Let’s dive in!

“Imagine your credit card was Peter Parker, the BNPL model is the spider that gives your credit card superpowers and helps you manage your cash flow efficiently.” Float Founder and CEO, Alex Forsyth-Thompson.

When you use Float to make a purchase, your available credit is reduced by the full purchase amount using a “reserve”; however, you're only charged each month for the instalment amount. And the best part? Each instalment is interest-free. As you pay each monthly instalment, the amount reserved will be reduced to the remaining balance of the purchase until it's fully paid up.

The reason that Float reduces your available credit limit by the full amount of the purchase is to act like a safety net, ensuring that you don't overspend, since that money has already been earmarked for your purchase.

Importantly, it also ensures that you don’t accumulate regular credit card interest for the whole purchase, so you don't have to worry about the additional financial burden that often comes with large outstanding credit card balances.

Platform45 came in as partners with Float in 2021 and built the complex integrations -the platform that needed to connect the payment system with the back-end operating system and that then facilitated the interaction with all the merchants.

The initial challenge was how to create a product that contributed to building a more responsible credit system that could be expanded across the African continent. In South Africa, though we are very well banked and we have exceptional formal financial services, not everyone has access to credit and we have a very low rate of financial inclusion.

Financial inclusion provides the opportunity for both low-income and high-income earners to be integrated into the financial system and therefore is a significant tool for enabling economic development. As a  trailblazing startup, Float and Platform45 work hand-in-hand to navigate the complexities of stability, growth, and optimisation within the BNPL landscape.


Float operates at the intersection of shoppers, merchants, and banks, creating a seamless connection within the BNPL ecosystem. One of the primary challenges for Float is ensuring stability in its platform amidst fluctuating conditions and maintaining stability requires addressing concerns such as handling transactions when third-party platforms are down, ensuring cash validation accuracy, and optimising performance to accommodate increasing demand.

Performance optimisation

As Float's user base grows and transaction volumes increase, optimising performance becomes essential to deliver a seamless customer experience. The transition to a Rails 7 upgrade represents a significant milestone for Float, enhancing system efficiency and scalability. Additionally, as the average order value (AOV) exceeds 10K and continues to rise, we prioritise scalability to accommodate this growth while maintaining optimal performance levels as they continue to expand their merchant base.


Like all disruptive products, our team faces critical decision-making regarding resource allocation and feature development. Balancing the imperative of fostering growth with ensuring stability and optimising performance requires strategic decision-making. The team must weigh available hours between optimising existing features and developing new functionalities. This strategic balancing act is crucial for achieving both short-term gains and long-term sustainability in the competitive BNPL market.

Maintenance and upkeep

Gathering production data and ensuring software updates are vital to Float’s functionality. Maintaining the platform's integrity requires prioritising maintenance tasks such as data pulls for cash validation and ensuring software remains up to date to mitigate security risks.

The solution

When it comes to Fintech, South Africa's presence may still be relatively nascent compared to other global markets, but it is rapidly gaining ground, brimming with immense promise and potential. Within this landscape, South African entrepreneurs and developers have proven their mettle, displaying world-class expertise and innovation.

As it stands, Float has received $11million (R200 million) in funding from Standard Bank, which will be used to accelerate the expansion of Africa’s first card-linked instalment platform across thousands of South African merchants.

The future of Fintech in the country is undeniably thrilling, yet there remains a considerable journey ahead, particularly concerning regulations, open banking, and payment systems, where the expansion of application programming interfaces (APIs) to fintech companies is yet to reach its full potential.

The momentum is undoubtedly shifting, with a clear inclination among industry players to embrace open APIs, even though the journey to comprehensive implementation is not yet complete, there is more and more room to play, and one thing is clear, Float is here to keep innovating.

At Platform45, we share this vision and take immense pride in our collaborative efforts with partners like Float to shape a better future.

Alex puts a lot of trust into the people he hires, everyone knows the goals and when to deviate and prioritise. He understands when things need to happen immediately and that’s really great. We’re doing lekker and fun things with Float.
Kobus Joubert Float Tech Lead

Platform45 has been an integral part of our journey as a startup. From helping us refine our initial concept before we had raised a cent of capital, to helping us scale our business to hundreds of merchants, they've grown with us and adapted to our ever-changing needs. We're super stoked to have such great partners!

Alex Forsyth-Thompson
Chief Executive Officer