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

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