Pushing Boundaries: How Technology is Aiding Advancement in the Financial Industry

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In recent years, the financial sector in Nigeria has undergone a massive transformation. For decades, transactions were limited to the manual mode in brick-and-mortar bank buildings either for deposits, transfers or withdrawals mainly. A typical example: payment of school fees for students had to be made at banks with queues often too long and convoluted.

In the past, there were several boundaries to transactions such as accessibility of funds during weekends and public holidays. Bank visits could turn out to be a rigorous, tiring and sometimes a disappointing process as it could go on for days before a successful turn and there were few investment opportunity plans for low-earning individuals and younger ones.

The landscape of financial transactions has changed today to a much better tale as there is an ease in transactions which has enabled students to pay fees in a twinkle of an eye from the comfort of their bedrooms using debit cards. Also, SME owners and startups receive payments via reliable systems from customers across various parts of the world.

As traditional banks have embraced technology by introducing web-based applications, mobile applications, ATM machines, SMS codes and the like which have made transactions easier, visits to brick-and-mortar banks have drastically reduced.

Apart from banks, various Financial Technology (fintech) startups have arisen and in this post, we would examine a few of them.

1.     PiggyVest

A secure platform that helps one save from as little as N3, 000 to as much as N500, 000 monthly while offering investment options in already vetted opportunities such as agriculture, transportation, real estate or fixed income.

The platform has various savings plans that come with interest rates and several features to encourage discipline with regards to savings yet offering some level of flexibility, especially with the existence of withdrawal dates. 

It is a mobile application initially known as Piggybank. The name was changed to PiggyVest when the investment option was added to their portfolio.

2.     Cowrywise

Also similar to Piggyvest in terms of the market proposition is Cowrywise, an online savings and investment platform helping Nigerians grow their wealth. They offer a broader variety of savings plans for various types of earners such as Save as You Earn, Fixed Savings, Saving Circles (for people saving in groups).

Cowrywise runs on a mobile application and with respect to withdrawals, Cowrywise is stricter than Piggyvest as they ensure users stay 100 percent committed to their financial goals.

3.     Paystack

One of the joys of business owners is receiving payment for the value provided whether as goods or services. Paystack provides the infrastructure needed to reduce payment hassles for businesses in Nigeria. Some advantages of such a system are the security of payment, documentation, and timeliness.

Payments on Paystack can be made directly into the bank accounts of customers after having inputted the one-time password (OTP) followed by clicking the pay button.

4.    Flutterwave

Flutterwave is a payment gateway that makes it easy to make and receive payments across the world. Founded by two Nigerians, its aim is to provide award-winning technology that helps Africans build global businesses with modern payment solutions.

Payments on Flutterwave can be made through debit and credit cards and currently from 154 countries.

5.     Aella Credit

In need of a loan without collateral? Aella Credit is one financial institution that grants loans to individuals and businesses making it easier to borrow money. Eligibility is determined by its proprietary algorithm. The system looks out for social and demographic factors, debt to income ratio and then grades the applicant’s eligibility on a scale of 0-100.

Not limited to providing only loans, it also has investment and payment options to their model. The mobile application is available for Android devices on Google Playstore.

The advantages of technology-driven advancement in the financial industry are numerous including affording individuals the opportunity to make enlightened decisions relying on blogs, feedback, and testimonies from the user community; unrestricted customer support and care, and generally, less stress and waiting time which make one more productive.

However, it is important to understand the terms and conditions of each platform before subscribing to their services.

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