By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerian fintech startup, Wallets Africa, is planning to commence issuing physical Visa debit cards to its customers to enable them to do online and offline financial transactions.
The firm, founded by Mr John Oke in 2018, ensures that financial transactions carried out through digital wallets are seamless and meet the needs of its users.
Since its establishment, the fintech startup has made strides in simplifying how users carry out transactions across the continent with just an app and a card.
The company has gone on to establish relationships and integrations with other cards, banks and switch providers in Nigeria. Now, it is joining forces with Visa, a leading global payments giant, to extend the reach to a wider audience.
According to the global payments giant, the programme creates an avenue for fintechs around the world to leverage its network “to introduce new and innovative payment experiences.”
In addition, it provides turnkey access to Visa’s ecosystem partners, online licensing, and automated programming interfaces (APIs).
In September, Wallets Africa began issuing virtual dollar cards to its users, enabling them to buy items and courses, and make payments for subscriptions and tools online.
Through the Fast Track Program, Visa has given the startup a further boost which will allow it to issue physical naira and dollar Visa cards.
Mr Franklin Ugobude, Wallets Africa Digital Marketing Manager, noted that the company was already issuing virtual Visa cards with its card technology and added that physical Visa cards needed to come into play because of the customers’ Wallets Africa couldn’t reach.
He said, “This is more direct as opposed to integrating with this, integrating with that. What we’ve done is a direct thing to the big switch, to Visa in this case. So we’re very psyched about it.”
He explained that the company aims to add more than 2,000 businesses in six months and with both cards — virtual and physical, it is set out to drive business users who hope to initiate local transactions as well as international transactions.
Mr Ugobude added that the partnership will make it able to complete offline payments as well.
In June 2020, the startup had 1,400 businesses; now, the number has increased to over 4,000 in addition to its over 60,000 individual users.
This development means Wallets Africa users can now access physical and virtual Verve and Visa cards from the company.
Mr Ugobude added that when users request for cards, Wallets Africa delivers them in less than two weeks, adding that users can make withdrawals with the dollar cards from any bank ATM in the country.
Mr Otto Williams, Vice President, Fintech Partnerships of Visa, said the company is very enthusiastic about working with fintechs, and especially Wallets Africa on this new project.
“The Wallets Africa team has made tremendous progress in a short time. I am impressed with the fact that they’ve successfully enabled Visa prepaid cards that work everywhere to thousands of digital natives and entrepreneurs in Nigeria. I look forward to seeing what they’ll do in other African countries soon,” he said.
The founder, Mr Oke, on the other hand, is keen to see how the partnership will evolve in the coming years.
“We’ve been working with technology suppliers across the world since inception to help offer world-class financial services to Africans. We are very excited to have Visa on board as we continue on our journey,” he added.
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