Why Payment cards are central to the African Fintech strategy in 2023.

by | Mar 16, 2023 | Analysis, Banking & Finance, Fintech

#ILearnPayments Series — Vol 1

The average Fintech executive operating in the largest market in Africa is ending 2022 on an unsure note. It’s less to do with their competence and more to do with the avalanche of updates from the Apex Bank of Nigeria — the CBN.

As we all know, Fintech without Finance is a lab experiment. Understanding and manipulating the flow of money is key to innovating in Finance. But in the midst of all this uncertainty from the Regulator is the fact that Payment cards are a sure strategy for 2023.

Why is everyone focused on this direction? To the uninitiated, there is a large opportunity. Actually, it is one that has existed for a while.

  1. The evolution of concepts like BaaS and Embedded finance has expanded the horizon of segments that will be interested in offering cards to their last-mile customer. These include Digital banks, Large merchants, and aggregators.
  2. However, the requirements of this segment are different and require a more seamless operation flow facilitated by APIs, webhooks, and efficient settlements and most importantly, with really short timelines.

In this section, we look at 3 African Fintechs who launched card products in the second half of 2022.

a. Paga

Card Scheme: Visa
Card Type: Virtual and Physical Cards, with USD in the works.
More Info: Each card has its unique NUBAN number and can be funded from any financial institution in Nigeria in real-time. To read more check here

b. Eyowo

Card Scheme: Mastercard
Card Type: Digital (virtual) and Physical Cards.
More Info: The Better Card is a numberless Mastercard debit card, which provides more secure payments for cardholders. To read more check here

c. Zilla

Card Scheme: Verve
Card Type: Virtual Cards.
More Info: a virtual card that gives shoppers the opportunity to pay in multi-instalments at 0 interest from sites like Konga, Jumia, and so much more. To read more check here

Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Why are Payment cards central to the African Fintech strategy in 2023?

a. Large acquiring base: A Token is only as useful as the touchpoints it can be used on. If you have your money in a wallet that isn’t acquired( read as accepted) by many merchants, you’ll be stranded. A majority of Merchants accept card payments in exchange for goods and services. Even if they don’t have a working POS, they’ll lead you to an agent nearby to withdraw cash.

b. Agency Banking compliant: This leads us to the next point. Agents process payments in 2 ways — 1st from a POS where cards are used or transfers then 2ndly, from a mobile app. Since agents are everywhere, most people find it useful to carry a payment card so they won’t be stranded.

c. Doesn’t need an additional estate. A card doesn’t need additional estate. It doesn’t need to be charged, you don’t need a smartphone and you don’t need a data subscription. You just need to find a merchant or an agent to transact and your financial needs are sorted.

d. Lastly cards don’t have a steep learning curve like other payment tokens like mobile apps, internet banking, or USSD. All you need to keep your pin safe and punch it in securely when you have to transact. No wonder it has been adopted widely in rural areas, as it is easier to remember a PIN compared to a phone number.

Thanks for reading this edition of the #iLearnPayment Series. We will be back with another one soon. To keep up with our educational content on the Fintech space and to register for our Fintech courses – visit our website www.thepaymentlogue.com.


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Our mission is to provide an EdTech platform that facilitate learning as well as building a payment ecosystem for professionals and anyone interested in Fintech and Payment, equipping them with the competence to thrive in current roles and seamlessly enter new markets.




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