In this article we give a researched account of the history of Financial Technology (fintech), large milestones in the industry, and facts on Paga.

What Really Is FinTech?

Fintech refers to technology that is used to augment, streamline, digitize or disrupt traditional financial services. It is the term used to describe any technology that delivers financial services through software, such as online banking, mobile payment apps or even cryptocurrency. Fintech is a broad category that encompasses many different technologies, but the primary objectives are to change the way consumers and businesses access their finances and compete with traditional financial services.

One of the merits of fintech is its capacity to enhance achieve financial inclusion on a global scale. Fintech companies offer services such as money transfer, depositing a check via smartphones, applying for credits, and raising funds for businesses.

The Growth Of Fintech In Nigeria

In Nigeria, fintech startups are taking on banks and disrupting the finance industry by offering products and services that exist in function in digital formats. The largest share of startup investment in the country has gone into the fintech sector. Investors have spent the last five years pouring cash into dozens of Nigerian fintech startups. According to Rest Of The World, in 2019 $350 million went into three fintech companies in just one week.

As the Nigerian economy declined over the last six years, the Naira has tumbled in value against the U.S. dollar. To this end, Nigerians have been looking for better ways to save their money, and in recent times, fintech companies have provided viable alternatives. The fact that technology is more readily available in today’s world has occasioned a shift from traditional banking services to more user-friendly mobile platforms. With low fees, flexible rates, efficient services and frequent supply of investment tips, these platforms are slowly but gradually disrupting the Nigerian finance sphere. Many tech-savvy Nigerians are investing in platforms like Piggyvest and Cowrywise.

The numbers are very encouraging, too. In 2019, Interswitch, a payment solutions platform founded by Mitchell Elegbe in 2002, attracted a $200m investment from Visa in 2019, raising its valuation to $1 billion and elevating it to unicorn status. Paystack, a Nigerian fintech startup co-founded in 2015 by Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi, was acquired by Stripe (an online payment processing platform) in October 2020 for $200 million, scoring Nigeria’s biggest startup exit. On March 10, 2021, Flutterwave, the payment solutions company co-founded in 2016 by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Agboola, announced that it had raised its valuation to $1 billion, making it only the fourth fintech unicorn in Africa. On March 15, 2021, Flutterwave also announced that it would be collaborating with electronic payment platform PayPal, in a move that would see African freelancers and entrepreneurs start receiving payment seamlessly through PayPal.

Another fintech platform that is flying high in Nigeria’s finance space is Paga, a payments solution that has distinguished itself over the years as a leading mobile platform. Paga allows users to transfer money electronically and make payments through their mobile devices. It acts as a mobile wallet, with which anyone who has an internet-enabled phone can conduct financial transactions.

The Paga History

Paga was founded in 2009 by Tayo Oviosu with the aim of solving the problems that were plaguing financial transactions in the country at the time. It was officially launched in 2011, and began commercial operations in 2012.

Paga was founded on the simple belief that digital technology can be leveraged in building an ecosystem that enables people to digitally send and receive money and offer simple financial access for everyone. The platform aim to accomplish its purpose by launching its services in various emerging markets and partnering with relevant financial institutions to deliver its services.

Paga offers a range of services such as: free money transfers, deposit to bank accounts, buying/sending of airtime, bill payments, remittances, bulk disbursements & collections that are accessible via its online channels and on any basic mobile phone via dialing *242#. It is also the largest distribution network for financial services in Nigeria through its nationwide agent network – mom and pop stores, pharmacies, grocery stores – where people can get access to financial services. 

Between 2015 and 2017, Paga received three consecutive awards from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems for achieving the highest transaction count on the Global Mobile Regulatory and Monitoring Platform. The platform has over 17 million unique users, and in the last four years the platform has processed $8billion worth of transactions, with $2.3billion worth of transactions processed in 2020 alone. Paga is widely regarded as Nigeria’s biggest mobile payments platform, and according to projections by industry experts, it may reach a valuation of at least $1billion by 2023.

Paga’s founder, the dynamic Tayo Oviosu, is a graduate of Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California. He also has a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. Oviosu started his career at Biomorphic VLSI as a Semiconductor Chip Design Engineer, and had a short stint at Event 411 as a Software Engineer. He later went to work for Deloitte Consulting in the CRM and Technology practice as a Senior Consultant. In 2008, he returned to Nigeria and joined Travant Capital Partners, where he served as Vice President until 2009 when he left to found Paga.

How To Open A Paga Account
Opening a Paga account is pretty easy. To get started, click here to download the Paga app on your device, then click on ‘Sign Up’, and follow the instructions from there. 

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