EXPLAINER: The 5 Different Categories of Fintech Startups in Africa

The proliferation of the fintech startups in Africa has seemingly drawn criticism from some users, with concern that many startups are zeroing on the same problem while there are many other problems to solve.

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Africa continues to witness a wave of fintech startups offering solutions for different challenges that have bedeviled the financial sector across the continent.

However, the proliferation of the fintech startups has seemingly drawn criticism from some users, with concern that many startups are zeroing on the same problem while there are many other problems to solve.

The above tweet by a Nigerian UX designer is testimony to this fact.

However, while most startups may be attacking the payments space, the fintech sector is not just for payments, and the different players can be put in multiple categories.

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SEE ALSO: Top 3 Fintech Sectors to Watch Out for in 2022 Across Africa

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Here are the 5 categories for fintech solutions across the different markets of Africa:

Lending

Lending fintechs make it easier for people to borrow money typically with just their mobile phone and and an internet connection.

The digital lending process is a series of procedures conducted by a financial institution to issue loans online. This procedure typically entails the following 3 components:

  • An approval process for determining the consumer’s creditworthiness and loan amount
  • A system for paying loan sums and receiving repayments
  • A collections arrangement for recouping overdue payments 

Such startups have proliferated across the continent with startup examples like Branch and Tala.

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is a type of short-term financing that allows consumers to make purchases and pay for them at a future date, often interest-free. Also referred to as ‘point-of-sale installment loans,’ BNPL arrangements are becoming an increasingly popular payment option, especially when shopping online.

Startups revolutionizing this sector leverage mobile users who are eager to shop and may not always have the money to buy what they want.

Some notable startups here include:

For instance, Lipa Later has exclusive partnerships with retailers across these markets allowing shoppers to pay for products in installments. Lipa Later’s partnership with French retailer, Carrefour (which has an East African regional presence), allows customers to pay for items including furniture, electronics, and even perishables in monthly installments.

Remittance / International Payments

A growing section of fintech players in Africa are playing in the international payments market where they are solving the problems of sending money internationally or sending money across African countries.

Many of the high-profile fintech startups in Africa operate in this sector, with examples such as:

Besides sending money to other people, these startups solutions generally also entail C2B payments, enabling African consumers make e-commerce payments internationally.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Some of the more successful fintech startups in Africa exist to create solutions that let businesses across the continent accept payments online from users and partners.

These type of startups are creating software leveraging APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) which other businesses can integrate into their own computing systems to gain a raft of financial services.

Usually, they provide the ability to accept payments online.

Some of the leading players in this vertical include:

Crypto

Many fintech players in Africa have emerged in the last few years to offers solutions related to cryptocurrencies which, on their own, are a financial technology.

Examples of solutions in these sector include exchanges, financial ramp solutions, and NFT platforms such as:

Some of the fintech players have taken advantage of cryptocurrencies, such as stablecoins, to support or enhance their current services. Chipper Cash, for example, has said it is looking at stablecoins to enhance the settlement process for cross-border cash exchanges.

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RECOMMENDED READING: Nigerian Crypto Payments Startup, FluidCoins, Launches a Free Wallet-as-a-Service API

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