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Three Fintechs Driving Financial Inclusion in Nigeria

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A report earlier this year from PwC highlighted the “changing competitive landscape” for fintech and banking in Nigeria. For those looking to learn more about both the growing impact of technology in financial services in one of the major countries in Africa, as well as the challenge created by COVID-19, PwC’s review provides an comprehensive overview.

The report also concludes with nine recommendations the analysts believe would encourage continued growth in Nigeria’s fintech ecosystem. These recommendations range from making it easier to invest in fintech companies to encouraging partnerships and “strengthen(ing) the synergy between banks and FinTech players” in a mutually beneficial way.

Financial inclusion is a huge part of both the challenge of – and the opportunity for – fintech in Nigeria. The report notes that more than 30 million adult Nigerians do not have or use either formal or informal financial services products or solutions. This represents more than a third of the country’s adult population. And while the report points out that mobile money operators have been among the businesses to help bring more financial services to the underbanked, there are some fintechs that have taken up the cause of financial inclusion, as well. A trio of these companies are highlighted below:


Bankly is a cash digitization and savings platform that caters to Nigeria’s unbanked. The company provides a digital wallet that is secure, convenient, and accessible, and all users require in order to open an account is a phone number. Bankly leverages more than 2,000 agents across 29 of the country’s 36 states to scale the company’s offering.

In operation for just over a year, Bankly has already picked up recognition from the 2019 Innovating Justice Awards sponsored by the Hague Institute for the Innovation of Law. The company has also participated in the GreenHouse Capital accelerator program. Tomilola Adejana (CEO) and Fredrick Adams are co-founders.


Covr Branchless offers banks, insurance companies, and government agencies a suite of applications that enable them to leverage cloud, GPS, and mobile channels to conduct a wide variety of financial processes. Account opening, instant debit card linking, cash withdrawals, fund transfer, billpay, KYC validation and loan origination are among the operations enabled by Covr’s technology.

Covr is owned by Advancio Interactive, a Nigerian technology company focused on sustainable financial access that was founded by Olufisayo Oludare (Managing Director). Covr won Advancio first place at the Startup Istanbul Challenge in the fall of 2017, only the second Africa-based startup to do so.


FairMoney is a online micro lender that provides instant loans from N1,500 to N500,000 (approximately $4 to $1,300), with average loans of about N12,000 ($33-$35). Using the company’s Android mobile app, prospective borrowers apply for financing by answering a few questions and providing some basic financial information. The app analyzes this information – as well as the borrowers geolocation and other factors – to make a loan offer in a matter of minutes.

But what makes the company especially interesting is the fact that it is working to launch a challenger bank. FairMoney raised $11 million in Series A funding last fall for this purpose and plans to expand its offerings to include current and savings accounts.


Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) encourages government to incentivize the use of QR code transactions and promotes the adoption of open, interoperable standards.
  • Amazon to offer car and motorcycle insurance in India courtesy of partnership with Acko General Insurance.
  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) facilitates recurring payments with its new UPI AutoPay feature.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazil’s Central Bank reverses course to authorize payments system involving WhatsApp.
  • Payscout teams up with Brazilian fintech Rede Celer to grow its payments business in the country.
  • Partnership between FacePhi and Naranja X will help bring biometric recognition technology to digital onboarding processes for firms in Argentina.

Asia-Pacific

  • Finovate: Ant Group’s Double IPO Listing Shuns U.S. Exchanges.
  • Trulioo brings its GlobalGateway identity verification technology to customers in Vietnam.
  • Crowdfund Insider takes a look at the impact of COVID-19 on fintech lending platforms in Indonesia.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Telco Orange and bancassurance company NSIA team up to launch Orange Bank Africa to serve underbanked communities in Abidjan and Cote d’Ivoire.
  • Vodacom partners with Ant Financial Services Group to bring Alipay services to South Africa.
  • Uganda-based digital cross-border money transfer startup Eversend raises $1 million via an oversubscribed Seeders crowdfunding campaign.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Germany’s Scalable Capital lands $460 million valuation with new $58 million funding round.
  • Russian bank Tinkoff unveils new functionalities for its financial and lifestyle services voice assistant Oleg.
  • EstateGuru, a P2P lending platform based in Estonia, launches a new payment service in partnership with Lemonway.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Oman’s BankDhofar extends partnership with Diebold Nixdorf to improve the customer experience of its ATM network. Bank Nizwa, also based in Oman, announced an extension of its digital payments partnership with Mastercard.
  • Turkey-based online payments platform Mobilexpress secures $2 million in Series A funding.
  • Spotii, an e-commerce technology provider based in the UAE, unveils new deferred payment option.

Photo by Tope A. Asokere from Pexels

Source: https://finovate.com/three-fintechs-driving-financial-inclusion-in-nigeria/

Fintech

The rise in mobile banking: Bank of America, First National and TD

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Share Mobile banking has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, and banks are reacting with enhanced mobile capabilities, new features and educational tools to support the new wave of digital users. Bank Innovation talked with some of the biggest banks across the country to learn how mobile banking has changed in the past five months and …Read More

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Source: https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/retail/the-rise-in-mobile-banking-bank-of-america-first-national-and-td/

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Get Wise: Business Banking Gains a New Challenger

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Whatever benefits the challenger bank revolution may bring to retail banking customers, the opportunities these neobanks provide to small businesses may be even more significant. In fact, there is a growing cadre of digital-first challengers who have decided to put innovating on behalf of small business banking at the top of their priorities.

One such company is Wise, a BBVA-backed challenger based in San Mateo, California, that announced the release of its premium checking account in the U.S. this week. The new offering, available for $10 a month, enables businesses to earn up to 1% APY on deposits through a combination of a 0.5% base APY and an additional 0.1% for every $1,000 purchase using a Wise debit card. Accountholders get 25 free ACH deposits and 25 free outgoing bank transfers a month, as well as additional payments services. Among the functionalities to be added are remote check deposit, the ability to send digital checks and international wires, and support for Quickbooks.

The new offering comes in the wake of the company’s first major fundraising: a $5.7 million seed round in April led by Base10 Partners and featuring the participation of several other investors including Abstract Ventures and Backend Capital. The company told TechCrunch earlier this year that it has 1,000 business customers, with average workforces ranging from 2 to 10 employees, and “between $500,000 and $5 million in ARR (annual recurring revenue).”

Finovate audiences met Wise last year when the company made its Finovate debut at our September conference in New York. At the event, Wise co-founders Arjun Thyagarajan (CEO) and Suresh Venkatraman (CTO) demonstrated the company’s “small business banking-in-a-box” solution, and previewed additional products and services for small businesses including payments and invoicing.

From left: Wise co-founders Arjun Thyagarajan (CEO) and Suresh Venkatraman (CTO) at FinovateFall 2019.

Thyagarajan founded Wise after a stint managing product for Mojio, a platform for connected cars. Before that he was a classic serial entrepreneur, launching a personal organizer (LivingOrganized), and a pair of password management platforms (TeamsID and Gpass). But a sense that he wasn’t “doing what I really wanted to do” led him to leave the “hot startup” in search of what he called “problems that needed solving.”

“My explorations led me to FinTech and I was pleasantly surprised with the rapid advancements in technology transforming the financial industry, especially in banking and payments,” Thyagarajan wrote on the company blog last summer, looking back on his decision to launch Wise. “It got me thinking: what if we could build a banking product that can deliver on the promise of putting the customer first … And solving real world problems.”

Thyagarajan’s reflections are similar to those his co-founder Venkatraman, who in a companion post observed that Wise’s own experience as a small business trying to secure quality banking services was vindication of the company’s mission.

“The day started innocently enough as we walked into a local bank with all our paperwork in hand,” he wrote. “That was the beginning of a chase around Silicon Valley to find a bank that would take our money and open up an account. Banks would reject us for all sorts of reasons or just ignore us.”

These days, with an new offering, a big investment and a major banking partner in BBVA in hand, it looks like the fintech world might be ready to wise up.


Photo by Jean van der Meulen from Pexels

Source: https://finovate.com/get-wise-business-banking-gains-a-new-challenger/

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Standard Chartered Ties Up with Microsoft

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Adding to the big-bank-to-big-tech partnerships announced in recent weeks, Standard Chartered secured a three-year partnership with Microsoft today.

The bank will leverage Microsoft to take a multicloud approach that will port its significant applications to the cloud. Specifically, Standard Chartered is planning to make its core banking and trading systems and digital ventures such as virtual banking and banking as-a-service cloud-based by 2025.

“Cloud is a cornerstone of Standard Chartered’s strategy to meet the present and future banking needs of our clients,” said Group Chief Information Officer of Standard Chartered, Michael Gorriz. “Using cloud services improves our ability to be agile and innovative, while increasing our operational efficiency and resilience. As disruption in the financial industry continues, we can focus on client benefits by deploying our solutions quicker and allowing for faster integration of new business models and partners.” Gorriz added that today’s partnership is a “major milestone” in Standard Chartered’s journey to become cloud-first.

Standard Chartered will pilot the launch by moving its trade finance systems to Microsoft Azure. The move is expected to facilitate cross-border trade at the bank.

The partnership extends to Microsoft’s workplace tools. Standard Chartered’s 84,000 employees will be working on Office 365 and communicating via Microsoft Teams.

This news comes during a time of widespread digital transformation across the banking sector. Banks and fintechs are seeking to move their operations to the cloud to update their infrastructure and create a better customer experience. There are two factors driving this change: the global health crisis that has moved many in-person interactions to online channels and the rise of competition from challenger banks.

“Cloud computing is an enabler for financial institutions to modernize their infrastructure and systems, to gain the agility they need to respond to competitive pressures, regulatory environments and customer demand,” said Bill Borden, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft. “We are committed to helping Standard Chartered Bank in its ongoing digital transformation journey as it strives to address evolving customer needs and build the next generation of banking experiences.”


Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Source: https://finovate.com/standard-chartered-ties-up-with-microsoft/

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