Nigeria’s NebulaPay enables recurring payments through Messenger

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Nigerian startup NebulaPay has built a secure conversational payments service that enables users to make recurring payments for things like airtime, electricity and DStv using Facebook Messenger in their own language.

Powered by artificial intelligence, the NebulaPay chatbot helps solve challenges experienced by people in paying recurring bills and transferring funds as a result of illiteracy, inconvenient locations and office hours of merchants, and the complexities of existing payment options.

The chatbot – which went live in January – has been integrated with chat messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and Skype, allowing for easier payments.

“The proliferation of USSD codes and mobile apps, and the multiple transaction steps of existing payment channels, have made financial payments cumbersome and frustrating for users, especially the less literate ones,” NebulaPay co-founder Ejike Oguh told Disrupt Africa.

“When in banking halls, I sometimes see how some people struggle to fill deposit and withdrawal slips due to literacy and language issues, and embarrassingly have to ask for help from other people.”

NebulaPay, which has raised angel investment, is aiming to tackle these issues using already ubiquitous services like Messenger and Skype, and the concept has caught on. Each month it sees around 530 new users transferring money via its platform.

The startup, which makes money from transaction processing fees and commissions, and processed almost US$4,000 in transactions in the first quarter of 2018, is currently only available in Nigeria, but hopes to expand to Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and other African countries.

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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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