Wallet.ng secures major partners in quest for easier payments

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Nigerian payments startup has secured partnerships with major players such as Interswitch, Flutterwave, Microsoft and System Specs as it aims to increase efficiency and lower costs in the payments space.

Launched late last year, Wallet.ng is a digital payments platform that helps people send and receive money, and make payments, using just their phone numbers.

“By allowing people to sign up and get a Wallet.ng account instantly we’ve lowered the entry barrier, thus opening up an array of quality financial services to people that have long been neglected,” co-founder John Oke told Disrupt Africa.

All a user needs to do is sign up with a Nigerian phone number. From there, they can set up a Wallet.ng URL in order to accept payments, and make payments to other URLs. They can share this link with friends, family and customers, and receive an SMS notification once they get paid.

“A user can also decide to fund his or her wallet with a local or international card, and from there access any of the services we provide,” Oke said.

These services include the purchase of airtime, and the ability to pay bills, pay online on websites that support its payment gateway, and withdraw cash at an ATM.

“The major gap in the market was poor service delivery by banks, often prioritising profit over meeting the actual needs of customers. Wallet seeks to empower everyday customers and small to medium scale businesses by providing access to loans, escrow services and seamless subscription payments,” said Oke.

The startup is currently bootstrapped but seeking funding, though it has been able to partner with some of the major fintech players in Nigeria to offer services to its customers.

“The biggest implementation we’ve done so far is an integration with banks that allow Wallet.ng users to withdraw cash at ATMs,” Oke said.

It has been less than a year since launch, but Wallet – which makes money from transaction fees – already has 430 active users and has processed around US$80,000 in about 2,400 transactions.

“We are starting out in Nigeria for now, with a vision to scale our model to other African countries,” Oke said.

In Nigeria, future iterations of its model include offering services offline for a wider coverage to the unbanked, via USSD and agent networks. It also aims to provide an escrow payments gateway to eliminate the trust barrier that has limited the growth of e-commerce in Nigeria, and offer short-term loans and insurance services.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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