Women are at increased risk of HIV infection in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Longitudinal and cross-sectional studies have found an association between school attendance and reduced HIV risk. We report feasibility and acceptability results from a pilot of a cash transfer intervention conditional on school attendance paid to young women and their families in rural Mpumalanga, South Africa for the prevention of HIV infection. Twenty-nine young women were randomised to intervention or control and a cash payment based on school attendance made over a 2-month period. Quantitative (survey) and qualitative (focus group and interview) data collection was undertaken with young women, parents, teachers and young men in the same school. Qualitative analysis was conducted in Atlas.ti using a framework approach and basic descriptive analysis in Excel was conducted on the quantitative data. Results indicate it was both feasible and acceptable to introduce such an intervention among this population in rural South Africa. There was good understanding of the process of randomisation and the aims of the study, although some rumours developed in the study community. We address some of the changes necessary to ensure acceptability and feasibility of the main trial.