There’s an army of unbanked people existing outside of Nigeria’s financial system. These individuals, numbering in the tens of millions, are saving money and conducting all their transactions with cash. The joys of electronic money transfers and the safety of bank accounts are a world away from them.
It’s this vast population that Paga serves. The fintech company provides a platform that lets them request for money, receive payments, and pay everyday bills, without traveling a distance or carrying bulks of hard currency around.
Paga was founded by Tayo Oviosu in 2009. At the time, payment systems were few, underutilized, and mostly inefficient. Oviosu knew he had an uphill task; although there was a market for his startup’s product, it was far from mature. Undaunted, he drew from his savings to bootstrap the project.
In time, the startup garnered enough positive attention to attract crucial funding and scale its operations. In the ten years since its establishment, it has grown to become one of the country’s biggest fintechs.
Read about other Fintechs in Nigeria: Nairabox
How Paga Works
Paga serves the payment needs of over 9 million individuals and thousands of businesses across Nigeria. Users of the platform can create an e-wallet and hold small amounts in it, with which they can pay for airtime, electricity, internet access, and renew cable TV subscriptions.
All that’s required to make transfers on Paga is the recipient’s phone number or email address. Users can also ask to be paid by someone else. They can do this by providing the person’s contact details and generating a unique payment link on the website or the Paga app. They will receive a confirmatory SMS if their request to be paid is granted.
Paga also has thousands of agents across the country who make its services available to people in remote or underserved communities. These agents take on the transaction requests of members of these communities, making transfers on their behalf and disbursing payments sent to them. They are a substitute for ‘bank agents’ in districts where banks and ATMs can’t be located.
In 2017, Paga announced that it would be partnering with the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to extend its mobile money agent network to every local government in the country.
Last year, it revealed that it would be expanding into new territory, specifically Ethiopia, Mexico, and the Philippines. This came after it raised $10 million in its series B funding round.
Featured image source: The Guardian NG