OPay eyes $400 million raise
MAY 30, 2021
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On Tuesday, Stripe announced a feature for merchants to create payment links and sell online without a website. As with many things from Stripe, it sounded unparalleled – another “game-changer” in global e-payments.


But allow Patrick Collison, Stripe’s CEO, tell you where the proof of concept came from:


“…the thing that’s interesting to me about the payment link “space” is that it’s a use case that really took off in other markets first — Nigeria, India, Philippines, etc. I suspect that staying abreast of important new patterns emerging outside US/Europe will become more important for many businesses in the years ahead…” 


Payments links is one example of how emerging markets can teach developed economies a few tricks for the digital economy. Another space where Nigeria’s example may influence the global space is real-time payments, as we’ll see shortly after a message from our partners.  

The Flutterwave Mobile app, the app that turns any smartphone into a mobile POS is now redefining commerce. The Flutterwave Mobile App makes it super convenient for anyone to take their business with them anywhere, anytime. Learn how you can take your business anywhere, anytime here.
Now, let’s dive in.

Exporting e-payments

One consequence of last year’s pandemic was a sharp increase in the use of mobile wallets. 


According to a new report by ACI Worldwide, an American payments system company, mobile wallet adoption increased by 46% in 2020. Growth in 2019 was 40.6% while the mark for 2018 was 18.9%. 


This trend suggests that payments is becoming:


  • more mobile: through apps available on smartphones, smart watches, etc and less in physical bank branches. 
  • faster: if people are more confident to make payments online, it must be because both sender and receiver are getting notified of transaction success more quickly too.


Indeed, online payments are becoming more real-time around the world. 


Real-time transaction volumes increased by 41% from 50 billion in 2019 to 70.3 billion in 2020. Transaction value rose by 32.8% from $69 trillion to $92 trillion. So which countries are driving this trend?

Boluwatife Sanwo/TC Insights

With 25.5 billion transactions in 2020, India is by far the global leader on real-time payments. China, South Korea, Thailand and the UK make up the top five.

India’s real-time payments revolution started in 2016 when the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) was launched. They’ve gone on to build an Immediate Payment System. But before all this, Nigeria made a similar historic move with NIBSS Instant Payments (NIP) in 2011.

NIP is a real-time payment solution that guarantees instant value to beneficiaries. NIBSS (Nigeria Interbank Settlement Scheme, a company co-owned by banks in Nigeria) built E-bills Pay on the NIP platform to enable account-to-account payments. 


Both creations have been described as part of the foundations for Nigeria’s fintech boom today. Andrew Levin, the chief economics for PwC in Nigeria once called NIBSS the most impactful fintech in Nigeria.


What NIBSS did in 2011, many are still in the process of creating. The US’s first real-time payment network is barely four years old. Instant transfers through that network only became available on PayPal’s Venmo in August 2019. The US Federal Reserve Bank plans to launch FedNow, a NIBSS NIP of sorts, in 2023.

But as good as NIBSS has been in Nigeria, some fintechs are already looking to go further in making transactions more real-time and unifying payments.

TeamApt, a startup founded in 2015, introduced avirtual accountsystem that has become a standard for instant transfers among Nigerian fintechs. This year, a new startup has come out of beta to provide instant settlement for businesses. It is already being called “NIBSS for fintechs.”

The upshot: Nigeria does not have India or China’s population to top real-time payments lists. Nigerian consumers may not be at the income levels in economies like South Korea and the UK. But as Collison said, the West African country is a place to watch for trends that could shape the future of online payments. 

Nigeria-based fintech OPay is said to be plotting a $400 million fundraise that will see it valued at $1.5 billion. The money will be deployed to deepend its impressive payments processing operation in Nigeria and expansion elsewhere. There’s some backstory here as to how OPay has grown over the years and why this could be an important deal.
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21-year-old Dominic Joshua started a scheme that paid out 30% monthly returns. Then, it became a $4 million scam. I spoke to victims to find out how the “Investment Maestro” who is now in Police custody did it.
Have a great June ahead

Thank you for reading the Next Wave today. Keep safe when you are out in public places – protect others by wearing your mask and sanitizing your hands.


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– Alexander O. Onukwue, Staff Writer, TechCabal

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