Paystack, Truecaller Partner to Boost Online Payments in Africa

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A deal has been struck between Paystack and Truecaller to allow more merchants across Africa accept payments online in a frictionless and secure manner by leveraging Truecaller’s mobile identity product, Truecaller SDK.

The partnership will also provide powerful tools that businesses and start-ups across Africa can use to verify the mobile identity of their customers, and in turn, further help in creating more trust in the online payments landscape on the continent.

Also, with the deal, unregistered local businesses can now receive online payments after being verified via Paystack’s in-house verification process, which now includes phone number identity verification powered by Truecaller

In addition, businesses and developers receiving payments via Paystack can now build customer verification tools on top of Paystack’s Truecaller phone number verification API.

Paystack is one of Nigeria’s largest payments startups, processing nearly 20 percent of all online transactions in Africa’s largest economy. The company (the first Nigerian startup to get into the celebrated Y Combinator Accelerator) aims to allow merchants in Africa accept payments from anyone, anywhere in the world.

Previously, all merchants who wanted to accept payments with Paystack had to be registered with various regulatory bodies. In Nigeria, where the vast majority of businesses are unregistered, the requirement to be registered prevented many legitimate offline businesses from realizing the benefits of online payments.

The Paystack-Truecaller partnership means that in addition to Paystack’s proprietary merchant risk assessment checks, merchants can now verify their mobile identity via Truecaller.

Integrating Truecaller’s mobile number identity product as a verification mechanism strengthens the Paystack platform’s merchant verification process and also makes it possible to open up Paystack to the millions of unregistered businesses who were previously unable to accept online payments with Paystack.

In the words of Paystack CEO, Shola Akinlade, “This partnership with Truecaller allows Paystack to deliver on our promise of trust as well as a frictionless experience. We want to be able to guarantee that all businesses paid via Paystack are thoroughly checked for legitimacy and credibility.

“In a low-trust environment like Nigeria where many people are paying online for the first time, it’s important to deliver a safe, fraud-free experience, and this is a responsibility that Paystack takes extremely seriously.”

Shola adds: “We needed to balance the strong desire to open Paystack up to unregistered business against the equally strong obligation to protect the interests of customers. Customers need the firm assurance that every Paystack merchant they pay is a vetted business, and our partnership with Truecaller ensures that we can continue to be worthy of customers’ trust.”

In addition to using Truecaller as part of the merchant verification flow, Paystack will also be introducing Truecaller as a verification option for local developers and startups who want to verify the identity of their own customers on Paystack’s developer platform.

Paystack already makes three verification options available to developers – the ability to verify the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of customers (BVN is an identifying number issued by Nigerian regulators), the ability to verify bank account details, and the ability to verify card details. Truecaller will be a fourth, new verification option, and the impact of this will be to create more trust in the payments flow for African businesses.

A typical use case would be a micro-lending app. In addition to their in-house customer verification steps and use of Paystack’s proprietary verification tools, the Paystack-Truecaller partnership now allows the makers of the lending app to verify the true identity of borrowers by their mobile identity, i.e. with their phone number.

Over 50 million Africans use Truecaller, and the app has helped helped Nigerian users block over 13 million calls and 25 million spam SMS, monthly.

In November 2017, Truecaller announced plans to deepen the collaboration with the business, startup and developer ecosystem in Africa, and the partnership with Paystack represents a strong move towards helping African businesses leverage the power of Truecaller’s mobile identity platform.

Truecaller Head of Global Developer & Startup Relations, Priyam Bose, underscored the importance of this ground-breaking partnership: “Paystack is enabling the growth of a vibrant online payment ecosystem and the digitization of businesses for Nigerian economy. Truecaller is excited to play a strong role in this vision by enabling tools that increase trust and enable frictionless payments across Africa, powered by Paystack.”

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