Innovation That Matters

Many Nigerians do not have access to traditional banking and credit facilities | Photo source Mono

Fintech solution for Nigeria’s unbanked

Financial Services

A fintech startup is breaking new ground in Nigeria with an app that can connect a wide range of products

Spotted: Two software engineers with experience in financial technology startups have launched a project called Mono, which aims to aggregate customers’ financial accounts from different Nigerian banks. Unable to find their own application programming interface to enable them to do what they wanted, Prakhar Singh and Abdul Hassan built their own API infrastructure and application.

The result was a real-time and very stable platform that allows companies and third-party developers to retrieve information such as account statements, real-time balance, historical transactions, income, expense and account owner identification. Users give their consent by logging with their internet or mobile login credentials before any transaction takes place, and they can also make direct debit payments and pay recurring debits through the app.

More than half of Nigerians are either unbanked or under-banked, and the goal of Mono is to improve financial inclusion by providing an easy way for people to move money, access financial information and make borrowing and credit applications and decisions. The hope is that this will improve financial access in the region. Mono has already secured partnerships with more than 16 Nigerian financial institutions and over one hundred businesses, including lending companies, and property and health tech services. 

For Hassan, Mono is more than a data company, it is a combination of open finance and open banking. “If you ask me, I’ll say we don’t see ourselves entirely in open banking or finance,” he explained. “Today, we’re concerned about how we can get data from different sources and aggregate into a database where businesses can get access to them with our users’ consent. Down the line, we can use this data for different use cases and solve various problems.”

Fintech is booming right now and a number of new products are looking at ways to improve access for those who are un- or under-banked. Some of these, like Carbon, work as investors and accelerators. Other innovators are working on improving access to often overlooked sectors, such as freelancers.  

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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