The State of Fintech in Nigeria 2023

The State of Fintech in Nigeria 2023

The State of FIntech in Nigeria 2024

Notably, Nigeria is leading in the number of fintech companies in Africa, surpassing South Africa and Kenya. In 2023, fintech in Nigeria companies increased to 217, a 50.1% rise from 144 in 2021.

This growth builds upon the previous year, which increased from 101 in 2019 to 74 in 2017. Additionally, the fintech ecosystem in Nigeria experienced significant growth as the country’s market share increased to 32% in 2023, up from 25% in 2021 and 20.6% in 2019.

The Fintech Funding Slump 

There’s been a notable decrease in funding for Nigerian startups in 2023 compared to the boom in 2021 and early 2022. This slowdown is connected to factors like the global economic downturn, making investors more cautious.

Uncertainties in the global economy and local issues like inflation and exchange rate fluctuations have collectively affected the investment climate.

According to information from Nairalytics Deals Book, Nigerian startups have raised less than $500 million in total, combining equity and debt, in 2023. In September 2023, the money invested in startups in Nigeria and other African countries went down to $1.4 billion.

This is a significant drop of $1.8 billion or 56.25% compared to the $3.2 billion seen in the same period in 2022. The slowdown in funding is expected to continue, with Nigerian startups likely to collect less than $1.2 billion in 2023, compared to the $1.2 billion they managed to raise in 2022.

Funds Raised in 2023

In 2023, despite an overall decrease in total funding for Nigerian fintech companies, notable funding achievements were still observed. Termii, a Nigerian communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) startup, secured $3.65 million to expand its product offerings in June.

OnePipe, a fintech startup, obtained a $4.8 million credit facility from TLG Capital in March. FairMoney Nigeria, operating as MyCredit Investments Limited, disclosed a Series 1 Commercial Paper Issuance, raising N2.5 billion ($5.39 million) in June.

Additionally, Traction, a merchant solution platform, successfully raised a $6 million seed round in August. Nomba, a Nigerian fintech startup, closed an impressive $30 million pre-Series B round in May, led by Base 10 Partners.

LemFi, a fintech startup transforming financial services for immigrants, announced a substantial $33 million Series A round in August, with Left Lane Capital leading the funding.

Furthermore, in August, Moove, a Nigerian-born mobility fintech company, revealed a significant milestone, securing $76 million in new funding.

The success of fintech investments in Nigeria is due to smart policies like the cashless policy, startup bill, and rules set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Initiatives like the Bank Verification Numbering (BVN) system, the Business Facilitation Act 2023, and other favourable business conditions have also played a role.

>>> Read More: Top 10 Fintech Apps in Nigeria by Customer Reviews 2024

The 2023 Leaders

Over the years, Nigerian fintech startups have offered payment, lending, and POS services solutions, but this year birthed innovations.

Opay 

In 2023, Nigeria experienced significant changes in its currency and implemented a cashless policy. Due to these changes, the vulnerability of commercial banks’ IT infrastructure and many fintech companies, such as Opay and Moniepoint, seized the opportunity.

Opay and Moniepoint were crucial in providing accessible and affordable financial services to the unbanked and underbanked population. 

Opay, in particular, gained widespread recognition by enabling unbanked and underbanked users to easily send and receive money and pay bills through a vast network of agents using phone numbers and BVN as identifiers. As a result, Opay has amassed over 35 million customers, establishing itself as a trusted platform for financial transactions.

Moniepoint 

Moniepoint, on the other hand, took advantage of new regulations in Nigeria that prompted businesses to move from using cash to mostly digital transactions. The company has gained recognition for its inventive solutions, notably its top-ranking agency banking service in Nigeria, handling payment transactions worth $12 billion with an average of 400 million transactions monthly.

Shutdowns, Losses and Lessons

While the Nigerian fintech sector experienced significant growth and progress in 2023, some companies announced ceasing operations.

KippaPay, a payment solution facilitating user transactions and extended payment services, revealed its decision to shut down its offline payment product this year. The discontinuation of this product resulted in the departure of employees responsible for managing it.

Additionally, six months after securing $3 million in a seed round led by Moniepoint, the Nigerian fintech startup Payday announced its intention to sell off the company.

Furthermore, the Nigerian cryptocurrency startup Lazerpay declared its closure after experiencing several months of unsuccessful attempts to secure the necessary funding to sustain its operations.

Losses 

In 2023, the fintech company Flutterwave faced two hacking incidents. In February, hackers caused a loss of N2.9 billion. Sources disclosed that the hackers utilized funds fraudulently obtained from Flutterwave accounts to buy USDT on the Binance cryptocurrency platform. 

Another fraudulent incident occurred in April, where hackers successfully transferred a total of ₦550 million ($1.2 million) from the company’s accounts.

Mergers & Acquisitions

In 2023, the Nigerian fintech firm Risevest acquired Chaka, a digital trading platform, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition was completed on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, following extensive negotiations over several months.

Both companies affirmed that Chaka and Risevest would continue as distinct products. Only Chaka’s capitalization table would be revised, while it would still operate independently as a separate entity.

Financial Services That Dominated in 2023 

In 2023, these were the leading fintech solutions in the market and their value propositions.

Product Core Value Proposition 
Point-of-Sale Services Make payments easy and smooth for businesses, improving customer experience.
Securities Easily and securely invest in financial instruments, providing opportunities for growing wealth.
Cross-Border Payments Simplify international transactions, offering cost-effective and fast cross-border payment solutions.
Personal Finance Empower individuals with tools and insights to manage and optimize their financial well-being.
Insurance and Pension Provide reliable and comprehensive coverage for unexpected events and assist in planning for future financial security.
Cryptocurrency Enable secure and decentralized digital transactions, offering an alternative form of currency and investment.
Payment Processing Streamline and speed up payment transactions, ensuring a smooth and reliable financial process.
Digital Banking Offer a range of banking services through digital channels, providing convenience and accessibility.
Loan Provides accessible and transparent loan options to individuals and businesses, facilitating financial growth.
Mobile Money Offer a convenient and accessible way for users to manage and transfer money using mobile devices.

Role of Fintech in Financial Inclusion 

Financial inclusion is a primary concern in Nigeria, where 67% of the population lives below the poverty line. Fintech has been a key player in addressing this issue by using technology to provide better financial services to those in need in sub-Saharan Africa. 

In Nigeria, the fintech industry has significantly boosted financial inclusion, resulting in the opening of over 20 million new bank accounts through both traditional banks and fintech companies since 2020. This has increased the percentage of the population with access to banking services to 63%, aligning with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) strategy, which has seen a 20% acceleration.

Fintech companies in Nigeria are making a difference by offering innovative solutions that give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to financing, aiding in their growth. These companies have also broadened their services to include investment opportunities, helping individuals and businesses make informed investment decisions.

Adoption Rates and Consumer Behaviour 

Fintech is most widely embraced by the middle-class and affluent individuals in Nigeria, largely due to their higher education, reliable access to digital infrastructure, and greater economic capacity.

According to McKinsey, the main reasons for adopting fintech in Nigeria are accessibility and convenience. Specifically, 57% of respondents in the research prioritize easy access and convenience over price and value considerations.

[Image: Nigeria Fintech Map 2023]

>>> Read More: Top 10 Fintech Companies in Nigeria and Their Offerings  

10 Megatrends Reshaping Fintech in Nigeria 2024

As of 2020, 1 out of 3 startups in Nigeria are expected to fail. This indicates that more than 30% of startups are encountering increased challenges in sustaining themselves over the long term.

Now, as fintech products become more widespread, venture investors, private equity investors, debt financers and leadership teams need to keenly observe consumer trends—or in this case, megatrends. This awareness is crucial for guiding actions and decisions to ensure relevance in the future.

According to James Allen, James Root, and Andrew Schwedel from Brain & Company, “understanding the evolving patterns can assist businesses in adapting and winning in the upcoming era.”

While the world of fintech can be unpredictable, we reconstructed from events of 2023 and put this guide together as North Stars for 2024 decision-making. Keeping an eye on these 10 megatrends will serve as a helpful guide for companies.

1. Agency Banking

Agency banking leverages third-party agents to provide banking services to the public, especially the unbanked. The implementation of Point of Sale (POS) systems, particularly in areas with limited traditional banking infrastructure, has proven to be a game-changer.

Industry leaders such as Opay and Moniepoint have recognized the crucial need in the consumer market, enabling the unbanked population to conduct financial transactions without the need to physically visit a bank.

The driving force behind this widespread adoption is convenience. It allows individuals in remote areas to effortlessly receive and send money, pay bills, and access various banking services without the need to travel long distances.

In densely populated areas in Nigeria, POS agents can be found 10 plots apart and, in some areas, even less.

2. Digital wallets

Data from Statista reveals that Nigeria’s digital wallet adoption is projected to surge by 37.6% by 2025. Digital wallets, essentially digital versions of physical wallets, empower users to store, manage, and transact electronically. Paga, recognized as the country’s largest digital wallet, facilitated over two billion U.S. dollars in transactions in 2020.

Considering the widespread use of smartphones, ease of use, and the increasing acceptance of digital payments, this trend is confirmed for continuous growth. In 2022, Nigerians boasted an average monthly transaction rate of 427.8 million, contributing to an overall volume of 5.1 billion transactions throughout the year.

Remember, wallets are not only available for direct consumers and mobile app users, however, other B2B service providers like B2B loans, HR and accounting SaaS use wallet systems to help their customers move money seamlessly.

The convenience factor remains a major driver of this popularity, simplifying everyday transactions and reducing the dependence on physical cash. Despite challenges related to limited internet access in some areas, the momentum of digital wallets is undeterred, cementing a promising future for fintech in Nigeria.

3. Wealth tech

In 2023, Digital Investment is valued at $58.37 million, according to Statista. WealthTech platforms use modern tech to offer various financial services. This flexibility means anyone, regardless of financial knowledge, can join in and build their wealth.

The rise of digital infrastructure, a tech-savvy population, and proactive use of financial tech by industry leaders show that WealthTech is on the rise. It not only meets current financial needs but also sets the stage for a more inclusive and tech-driven financial future in Nigeria.

Traditional brokerage firms are beginning to see massive competition from digital WealthTech platforms like Rise, and Bamboo. Some have started launching their digital trading apps.  

4. Embedded finance

Fintech companies seized the Embedded Finance trend as a significant opportunity to broaden their product offering. By seamlessly integrating financial services into popular non-financial platforms, fintechs can tap into new user bases provide tailored solutions and seamlessly share data.

Proactively adapting to this megatrend ensures that fintechs remain competitive. Given its seamless user experience, the market value of Embedded Finance in Nigeria is predicted to surpass $8 billion by 2029.

5. Digital lending

Digital lending has rapidly emerged as the go-to method for Nigerians seeking loans. Platforms like Palmpay, Fair Money, and Palm Credit have become popular choices for many.

The growth of digital lending is driven by its role in enhancing financial inclusion. These platforms streamline and expedite loan applications, making the process more accessible. With the increasing adoption of mobile banking in Nigeria, digital lending has evolved even more conveniently.

6. Neo Banking

The digital-only nature of neobanks leads to operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. As more individuals embrace digital channels for banking, neobanks set the standard for delivering seamless and user-friendly digital experiences. Fintechs need to align with this trend to remain relevant. Fintechs can take inspiration from neobanks to design inclusive and accessible financial solutions.

For the unique case of Neo Banks in Nigeria, we saw an increasing number of fintech going for Micro Finance Bank (MFB) licensing to expand their service offering.

7. Crypto Adoption

Cryptocurrencies are changing how we make payments. Stablecoins, linked to regular currencies, connect the crypto and traditional financial worlds. Nigeria is a major force in African crypto growth, ranking 6th globally in crypto activities.

Big companies and investment funds are embracing digital assets, a sign that cryptocurrencies are gaining wider acceptance. Governments are also getting involved, potentially reshaping how global payments work.

8. Cross Border Remittances

The hunger for opportunities abroad has sparked a global migration pattern for Nigerians. Fintech firms play a crucial role in streamlining cross-border remittances, with personal remittances reaching $20.13 billion in 2022 alone.

Traditional remittance methods come with high fees and lengthy processes. As the migrant community expands, fintech’s role in cross-border remittances becomes even more crucial in weaving the fabric of our interconnected global landscape. More companies got IMTO licenses in 2023 and one of the top emerging is LemFI (Formerly Lemonade Finance).

9. Mobile Money

Though commonly used interchangeably, digital wallets and mobile money, represent distinct megatrends in Nigeria. Mobile money specifically highlights the convenience of managing finances through mobile devices.

In regions with limited traditional banking access, like rural areas in Nigeria, mobile money serves as a crucial lifeline.

10. Partnerships and Collaborations

Collaboration is the catalyst of progress. Fintechs are increasingly finding their stride in partnerships—with traditional banks, non-financial entities, and even amongst themselves.

Recent directives from regulatory bodies, like the one from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), emphasizing the removal of non-deposit-taking financial institutions from transfer lists, highlight the importance of partnerships. Fintechs, facing regulatory shifts, are compelled to form closer alliances with traditional banks to align with new compliance requirements.

As regulations evolve, these collaborations will likely intensify, creating a financial ecosystem that is robust, innovative, and capable of meeting the diverse needs of consumers and regulatory bodies alike.

Conclusion

The state of fintech in Nigeria in 2023 reflects a dynamic landscape marked by substantial growth, funding challenges, and transformative trends. With 217 fintech companies, Nigeria has emerged as a frontrunner in Africa, boasting a 50.1% increase from 2021. The sector’s evolution, witnessed in 2017, underscores its resilience and adaptability.

Despite a funding slowdown attributed to global economic uncertainties, the successes of notable funding rounds, such as Termii’s $3.65 million and Nomba’s $30 million, demonstrate the sector’s underlying strength. Challenges, including the closures of KippaPay, Payday, and Lazerpay, highlight the competitive nature of the market and the need for sustained innovation and adaptability.

Leading the 2023 fintech landscape are Opay and Moniepoint, playing pivotal roles in providing accessible financial services amidst changes in Nigeria’s currency and the implementation of a cashless policy. However, some companies faced setbacks, like Flutterwave’s security breaches, emphasizing the importance of robust cybersecurity measures.

The megatrends shaping fintech in 2024 include the rise of agency banking, digital wallets, wealth tech, embedded finance, digital lending, neo-banking, crypto adoption, cross-border remittances, mobile money, and partnerships. These trends align with consumer behaviour, emphasizing convenience and accessibility.

Fintech’s role in financial inclusion is evident, with over 20 million new bank accounts opened since 2020, contributing to a 63% population access rate. The middle-class and affluent demographic primarily drives fintech adoption due to factors like education and digital infrastructure access.

The evolving landscape necessitates a keen observation of megatrends for future relevance. Despite potential data limitations, this comprehensive overview provides valuable insights into the present and future of fintech in Nigeria, emphasizing the industry’s resilience, adaptability, and transformative impact on financial services and inclusion.

Methodology

This report aims to give a breakdown of Fintech in Nigeria for the year 2023 and a view into the future. We relied more on secondary data in this research. Aside from our expertise, we drew data from sources like – MoniePoint, Punch, Nairametrics, ICIR Nigeria, Afrikan Heroes, TechCabal, and McKinsey.

Nigeria Fintech Map – We collected data and created categories and sub-categories. These sub-categories make up the list.

Megatrends – We drew our conclusion from current market realities and an overall view of customer sentiment alongside economic biases.

Limitations – We plan to give the best research, but how best can we go? We fear that some of our conclusions might not be backed up with enough data and for the data-centric sections, we also fear that our data sample size is not large enough.

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