Visa: How Nigerian startups created ‘next big thing’ in payments

Visa: How Nigerian startups created ‘next big thing’ in payments

Visa: How Nigerian startups created ‘next big thing’ in payments

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Two Nigerian startups, CredPal and Zowasel, have emerged winners in a programme by Visa, the digital payments giant, targeting startups to develop the next big thing in payments.

CredPal and Zowasel became winners in the Merchant Payments and Financial Inclusion challenges of its first ever Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) Everywhere Initiative beating 10 other contenders selected from 238 submissions to emerge as champions, Visa announced in a statement.

Winners of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative in Sub Saharan Africa: Jerry Oche, Founder and CEO of Zowasel, on the left, winner of Financial Inclusion Challenge; Eric Thimba, Co-founder and CEO of Mookh Africa, winner of Social Business Payments Challenge and overall winner and Mofehintolu Olaogun, CEO of CredPal, winner of Merchant Payments Challenge Photo credit: Visa
Winners of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative in Sub Saharan Africa: Jerry Oche, Founder and CEO of Zowasel, on the left, winner of Financial Inclusion Challenge; Eric Thimba, Co-founder and CEO of Mookh Africa, winner of Social Business Payments Challenge and overall winner and Mofehintolu Olaogun, CEO of CredPal, winner of Merchant Payments Challenge Photo credit: Visa

According to Visa, the SSA programme was structured around three real life business challenges:

  • Merchant Payments Challenge: How to enable smaller merchants to accept payments in-store digitally OR Provide a safe and secure solution for online merchants to drive eCommerce and reduce cash on delivery?
  • Social Business Payments Challenge: How can startups use Visa’s APIs to leverage mass reach and social media partner platforms like Facebook to help businesses operating in fast-paced consumer centric environments improve cash flow and receive payments?
  • Financial Inclusion Challenge: How can startups leverage technology to provide services that are functional for illiterate customers to provide them with secure transaction experiences that build and enhance their confidence in the banking system?
  • Nigerian startup, CredPal, won the “Merchant Payments” challenge and US$25,000 for its solution that allows business and individuals to pay for purchases in installments across online and offline merchants by providing them with instant access to credit at the point of checkout. The merchant then fulfills the order and is paid in full while the customer pays CredPal back in fixed monthly installments.

Zowasel, another Nigerian startup, developed a solution which connects under-financed smallholder farmers with investors via mobile phone-based P2P lending and marketplace sales, as well as gives them access to best agricultural practices. They won in the “Financial Inclusion” Challenge. The SSA edition of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative is also the first time that startups have been given a challenge specific to financial inclusion since it was launched in 2015.

Mookh Africa developed a social business payments solution which makes it easy for people in Africa to buy and sell on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Once the seller creates an online store on Mookh, they can embed it into their Facebook page.  The Kenyan startup won both the “Social Business Payments” challenge as well as the overall prize for its idea. The company took home US$50,000 and the opportunity to work with Visa to develop the concept further.

Geraldine Mitchley, Senior Director, Digital Solutions, sub-Sahara Africa, Visa, says that, “we have had the privilege of working with some of the best minds in the region over the last few months and the selected three category winners have the potential to truly change the way people pay in the region. We congratulate Mookh Africa, CredPal, and Zowasel and thank all the finalists for participating in the Everywhere Initiative.”

She says “the future of digital payments will be shaped through collaboration and we look forward to working with our startup partners to transform the payments landscape over the coming years to the benefit of consumers, merchants and issuers alike. It’s an exciting time in Africa’s payments and fintech space.”

Oluwakemi Okunsanya, General Manager: Visa West Africa, said: “Visa is proud to play its part in Africa by enabling a smart economy powered by secure digital payments. This vision comes to life when we can collaborate with passionate minds and foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem where innovators can thrive.  Today, we saw this passion and innovation first-hand; and we are excited to build on the technologies that have secured the top positions in each of these challenges. Together with Visa and our financial institution partners, we would love to see at least some of these become a reality for consumers in the near future.”

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