Nigerian fintech startup Carbon starts charging mobile wallet users

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Nigerian fintech startup Carbon, formerly Paylater, has begun charging users of its mobile wallet a one per cent transaction fee, saying volume of users had made a free offering unsustainable.

Consumer lending platform Carbon, which rebranded in April as parent company OneFi continues to transition into being a full digital banking platform after raising US$5 million in debt funding and acquiring Nigerian payments startup Amplify, launched its wallet feature last December, allowing users to store value in the app.

Funding the wallet was made free, but Carbon now says this is unsustainable. 

“This particular service came at a significant cost to us as we pay fees to your debit card issuer and payment processors for every card top-up you do on Carbon. It’s fine when it’s just a few people transacting, but at several hundred thousand active customers using wallets, it can quickly become unsustainable,” the company said in a blog post.

As of this week, then, all wallet top-ups from debit cards will incur a one per cent transaction fee, a change Carbon said will allow it to “redirect resources into faster innovation and make Carbon the perfect financial partner for you”.

The startup will soon be releasing a few new features to make transactions cheaper and easier, such as allowing users to fund their wallet directly from their bank account via USSD or bank transfers, removing the need for card top-ups, providing users with a debit card to perform transactions anywhere, and launching QR payments to let users pay merchants across the country by scanning a simple code.

“Every single Naira that goes into your wallet will remain yours. We will still not charge account maintenance, SMS fees or any other charges traditional banks are well-known for,” Carbon said.

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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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