Until recently, the idea of being able to ‘invest’ seemed unattainable. It was something you only aspired to do once you had a lot of extra cash and a thorough knowledge of financial markets. Potential investors had to go to asset management companies, brokerage firms, private portfolio managers or investment firms to complete the very formal process to invest. But a new crop of mobile and web apps are leveraging tech to make investing more accessible through digital ‘retail’ investment platforms–drawing in beginner investors along the way.

Platforms like PiggyVest (formerly Piggybank) and CowryWise automate saving on daily, weekly or monthly intervals with earned interest on products between 10-15% annually. Both platforms give users an opportunity to convert savings into investments, earning more than with commercial banks who usually have excessive charges. According to PiggyVest, as of January 2019, they have helped 200,000 registered users save over one billion naira. With a combined 60,000+ downloads on the Google Play store and mostly positive reviews, both PiggyVest (formerly Piggybank) and CowryWise are helping people achieve saving and investment goals.

I-Invest, an app that helps users purchase treasury bills without a middleman promises interest rates around 8-11%, but unlike CowryWise and PiggyVest, I-Invest targets investors with a 100,000 naira minimum for investment. Asset management companies like AXA Mansard, FBN Quest, Stanbic IBTC and ARM offer mutual funds through mobile and web apps, allowing the general public to invest for as low as 2,000 naira ($5.53), from phones or computers. Easy investments in agriculture have been made possible by platforms like Farmcrowdy that promises 6-25% returns.

Another “investtech” option for beginners and even experienced traders is Investment One’s Virtual Investment Simulator. Adding gamification to the virtual experience of buying and selling stocks available on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the simulator teaches users practical lessons about making investment decisions without risking actual money.

By further simplifying processes and improving learning tools, so everyday people can grasp the fundamentals of individual investments, these apps are rapidly changing traditional complex systems of personal investments in Nigeria. And with an array of options available, almost anyone can pick up their phones and within minutes invest money with confidence.

Wole Olayinka Author

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