Ultimate Nigerian Fintech Guide: Regulators, Top Players and How to Start

The Nigerian fintech space continues to generate monumental investments and attention from across the globe.
Ultimate Fintech Guide in Nigeria: Regulators, Top Players and How to Start - News Central TV

The Nigerian fintech space continues to generate monumental investments and attention from across the globe. The success in the financial technology space can be attributed to its competitive nature especially in a volatile economy. In spite of the challenges, the Nigerian Banking sector remains an attractive sector, with over $9 billion in value pools.

Nigeria’s fintech industry saw funding rounds from various global investors in 2019, with Interswitch, a payment platform infrastructure service obtaining equity funds worth $200 million from Visa and Branch receiving funds of $170 million from foundation capital and Visa and most recently in October of 2020, stripe acquired Paystack for a whooping sum believed to be over $200 million.

The history of fintech in Nigeria can not be told without making reference to the stability of commercial banks and consistent policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN on December 31st, 2005 implemented the recapitalisation of the banking sector from N2 billion to N25 billion for commercial banks. This inevitably provided a framework for startups in the sector to ride on.

It’s worthy to note that apart from the CBN, there are other regulatory bodies who play key roles alongside the CBN in the Fintech sector, they include; the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (“NDIC”), the SEC, NAICOM, the Corporate Affairs Commission (“CAC”), the Nigerian Communications Commission (“NCC”), the NITDA, and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“FCCPC”).

FINTECHS VALUE PROPOSITIONS

ProductsSub-CategoryCore Vale Proposition
PaymentsWalletsEasy to sign up, easy to use stored value wallets using mobile phones, and incorporating key use cases for customers across transportation, food, and digital services
ProcessorsSimplified channels to allow SMEs and corporates to receive online payments from customers
RemittancesEasy, instant cross-border transfer at a fraction of the cost and time of conventional players-ofter leveraging cryptocurrency
Merchant service providersMerchant technical providers allowing merchants to receive offline payments
SavingsSavingsAutomated, disciplined, and high-return savings for middle-class customers and millennials
Wealth managementOffer customers investment options in diverse industries on online platforms at attractive rates (significantly higher than banks’ savings account)
LendingRetail LendingInstant unsecured short term loans to retail customers leveraging alternative credit scoring algorithms and data
MSME lendingQuick, unsecured working capital loans to MSMEs with minimal documentation
Lending infrastructureA lending platform for banks and other lending players to simplify the lending process and provide risk assessment
ServicesPersonal financeAutomated expense tracking, budgeting, and investment leveraging machine learning
Merchant solutionsValue-added services for MSMEs and merchants, such as inventory management, loyalty, and accounting
Financial institutionPlatforms and services for financial services providers to leverage the provision of digital services to their customers e.g., software, automation
AccountsSavingsFully digital banking services leveraging smartphones
Wealth managementInsurance marketplaces
Source: McKinsey & Company

TOP FINTECH COMPANIES IN NIGERIA

We have listed 12 of the most popular fintech apps of 2021. Please note that this list is in ALPHABETICAL order and not in order of importance.

  1. Carbon Paylater
  2. E-tranzact
  3. Fairmoney
  4. Flutterwave
  5. Interswitch
  6. Kuda Bank
  7. Opay
  8. Paga
  9. Paystack
  10. PiggyVest
  11. Remita
  12. VoguePay

1. Carbon – Paylater

Carbon Loan is a product of One Finance and Investment Ltd. which started out as One credit in 2012. 

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The company initially provided loans to salary earners, using a complete paper-based approach to its operation which required substantiating documents.

2. E-tranzact

eTranzact was launched in 2003 as a multi-application, multi-network, and multi-channel electronic payment platform that supports every significant network; including AMEX, VISA, and MasterCard.

eTranzact boast itself as the first online real-time payment system that allows account holders to pay for goods and services purchased from merchants, transfer funds to any bank account, cell phone, any card, pay bills, order products e.t.c without stress

eTranzact as a Switch processes payment requests from various channels – Web, ATM,POS, mobile-utilizing automated procedures.

3. Fairmoney

FairMoney was Launched in 2017 and began applying machine learning techniques to smartphone data to assess creditworthiness. In 2020, the firm lent $93 million to over 1.3 million users who made more than 6.5 million loan applications.

The company also secured a microfinance bank license which enables it to operate a current account with debit cards, the company has also launched into India where it has processed more than half a million loan applications.

4. Flutterwave

Flutterwave launched in 2016 operating as a Nigerian and U.S.-based payments company with offices in Lagos and San Francisco, Flutterwave essentially helps businesses build customizable payments applications through its APIs and provides a payment infrastructure for global merchants and payment service providers.

Earlier this year, flutterwave secured USD $170 million from a leading group of international investors as part of a successful Series C round. The round was led by growth-equity firms Avenir Growth Capital (“Avenir”) and Tiger Global Management LLC (“Tiger Global”) with participation from new and existing investors.

5. Interswitch

Interswitch is a digital payments and commerce company with its headquarters in Lagos. The company was founded in 2002.

In November 2019, global payment giant Visa invested $200 million in return for a 20% stake which valued the company at no less than $1 billion, cementing its unicorn status in the process.

The company prides itself as The Gateway to Africa’s Payment Ecosystem

6. Kuda

Formerly known as Kudi Money, Kuda evolved into a microfinance bank after obtaining a license to operate from the CBN. Kuda is Nigeria’s first mobile-only bank with Zero card maintenance fees, free transfers, automatic savings.

Kuda allows Customers to make deposits and manage their accounts, while the bank bundles these deposits and makes investments with them. The bank also makes money from merchants who pay a fee when Kuda users make payments at points of sale using Kuda cards. They plan to launch a lending service soon, charging a fee to the borrower

7. Opay

OPay is a one-stop mobile-based platform for payment, transportation, food & grocery delivery, and other important services in your everyday life. Millions of users rely on OPay every day to send and receive money, pay bills, and order food and groceries.

Opay evolved after acquiring a controlling stake in PayCom; a Nigerian fintech company founded by Telnet Nigeria in August 2018.

8. Paga

Paga was founded in Nigeria in 2009, Paga is a mobile payment company, which allows your friends and family to receive fast international money transfers directly on their mobile devices via a Paga mobile money wallet. Paga wallets can also be used to pay local bills, school fees, and other goods and services at retailers.

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The company believes they’re building an ecosystem to enable people to digitally send and receive money, and creating simple financial access for everyone.

The company believes they’re building an ecosystem to enable people to digitally send and receive money, and creating simple financial access for everyone.

9. Paystack

Paystack lets businesses in Africa accept payments by anyone, anywhere in the world via credit card, debit card, money transfer, and mobile money on their websites or mobile apps. It specializes in the fields of financial services, the internet, and payments. The company was founded in 2015 and headquartered in Ikeja, Lagos.

10. PiggyVest

PiggyVest is a savings and investment platform launched in 2016 and is primarily a savings app. Formerly known as Piggy Bank, they rebranded to become PiggyVest in 2019 and also began to offer investment opportunities to users besides savings. 

It is a platform that wants to give everybody the power to manage and grow their finances better. 

11. Remita

Fast emerging as Africa’s preferred payment platform, Remita is chosen by millions of people and thousands of organisations. It is the default payment gateway that facilitates the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Treasury Single Account (TSA), the largest and most impactful of its kind in Africa.

12. VoguePay

VoguePay is a secure payment processor and e-commerce service founded in Nigeria in 2012. It offers personal digital wallets and business payment accounts to users worldwide. Individuals can send and receive payments from other VoguePay accounts

ALL YOU NEED TO START A FINTECH COMPANY IN NIGERIA

In Nigeria, Before setting up your fintech company, you will have to register the business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria. It’s best to register a Fintech company as a limited liability company.

Below are the established requirements for registering your company as a limited liability company

  1. The first step is to choose two variation of names for the company, then an availability check will be conducted on the CAC online portal to find out if the name is available and not already in use.
  2. Choosing the type of company to be registered whether a private limited company or private unlimited company or company limited by guarantee.
  3. The objectives and business of the company must be provided.
  4. The registered principal address of the company.
  5. The share capital and shareholding formula among shareholders will be required.
  6. The particulars of a minimum of two (2) Directors will be required. A copy of their means of identification such as voter’s card, national ID, drivers’ license or international passport.
  7. Particulars of the company secretary (one of the directors may also act as the Secretary of the company)
  8. The applicant will be required to furnish details of the shareholders of the company. Details such as names, occupation, residential address, email address, mobile phone number and means of identification such as driver’s license, international passport or national identity card. It should be noted that the directors listed can also hold the capacity of shareholders in the company if desired.
  9. The memorandum and Articles of association of the company to be registered which is advisable to be drafted professionally by a Legal Practitioner. However, the CAC has provided a generic MEMART, which any new company can be adopted.
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After which a consultant will prepare the following incorporation documents. They include

  • Duly verified particulars of the director and statement of share capital known as CAC Form 1.1
  • Duly stamped Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • The individual completes all the incorporation documents with the input of an accredited lawyer to duly attest to the incorporation documents.
  • The payment of the prescribed fees will now be duly made online and the incorporation documents immediately stamped online.
  • The stamped incorporation documents will now be duly uploaded into the CAC online portal again for the final review of the commission
  • If all the incorporation documents are well completed and executed, the commission will incorporate the company and issue an incorporation number immediately online.
  • Certificate of Incorporation and the Certified True Copies of the other documents will be issued by CAC and received by the consultant or lawyer, usually in less than 48 hours after the company is duly incorporated by CAC

If the company has foreign shareholders, they will be required to:

  1. Register with the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)
  2. Obtain a business permit
  3. Register with the National Office of Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP)
  • Obtain licensing for your fintech company

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the one responsible for all fintech companies in Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) established a licensing regime for fintech companies that is called the Payment Systems Providers (PSP) in order to prevent and tackle issues such as risk management, cyber risks, capital adequacy. Obtaining a license for your fintech company is a major achievement and different regulations apply to different fintech companies depending on the type of services that you offer. The licensing system by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is divided into three groups which are known as:

  1. Super license

The super license is a requirement for companies that operate payment gateway platforms such as the Point of sale (POS) services and switching services. In order to acquire the super license, one will need to maintain at least N5 billion shareholders’ funds and pay a licensing fee that ranges between N1-2 million per year for 3 years

  1. Standard license

The standard license is for fintech companies that are operating e-money issuers, agent recruiters and managers, wallet creation and management etc. in order to acquire the standard license, one will need to maintain a shareholders fund of at least N3 billion and pay a licensing fee that ranges between N500,000 – N1,000,000

  1. Basic license

The basic license is required by companies that run either Point of sale (POS) deployment or terminal services and those that provide payment processing gateways, portals and payment applications or solutions. In order to acquire the basic license, you will need to have a shareholder requirement of at least N100, 000, 000 as well as payment for a licensing fee that ranges from N100,000 – N500,-000

  • Obtain funding

Raising capital for your company is very important as it is one of the first things that you should do as a business owner. Without proper funding, your business may cease to exist. . As a business owner who wants to set up a fintech company in Nigeria, you could obtain funding through the following:

  1. Self-financing: This has to do with the capital provided by the owner of the business
  2. Grants from government agencies: Various grants can also be gotten from the programs run by the state government or federal government
  3. Loans from banks: Having a detailed business plan and registering your business name will enable you access various bank loans
  4. Investors: Investors who have gone through your business plan and are assured that your furniture making business is profitable can invest millions of naira in your business
  5. Family and friends: Finance can also be gotten from families and friends that are willing to support your business
  6. Venture capital : This is provided to companies that have a high growth potential

Source: Qeeva


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