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Nigeria’s banks are among the largest and most celebrated financial institutions in Africa. But despite serving tens of millions of people across the continent, they haven’t exactly mopped up on their potential customer base back home.

At the last count, about 60 million adults in Nigeria are unbanked. That’s one of the biggest figures for financially underserved people on the planet. This population presents a challenge for economic policy makers: it’s a huge segment of Nigerians who aren’t getting first-tier financial services, and the many benefits that come with them.

But startups like Kudi see this as an opportunity. They’re diving in to fill the gap, by providing alternative money collection and transfer services. And they are getting this done with the help of digital technology.

Launched in 2016, Kudi is a platform that facilitates mobile payments for individual users. It runs an agent model, with thousands of persons acting as its merchants in locations across the country. Using the Kudi app, these agents help people in their communities pay bills and transfer funds to parties elsewhere in Nigeria.

Its founders, Adeyinka Adewale, and Pelumi Aboluwarin, had originally built Kudi as a chatbot that helped people conduct financial transactions on their phones. But they soon found that there was a bigger market to be helped: the unbanked, who didn’t have access to regular banking services, were also not likely to own a smartphone.  Armed with this knowledge, they broadened their focus, and began targeting that segment.

How Kudi Works

Persons interested in becoming Kudi agents can begin by downloading the Kudi app onto their mobile phones. The next step would be to register on it; this part takes only a few minutes. Once this is done, the registered person can fund their wallet and begin helping people in their communities to pay bills and receive moneys from far flung locations.

With Kudi, people can pay for TV subscriptions, electricity bills, airtime, and data, among other things.  Where there’s a need for a Point of Sale (POS) terminal to carry out transactions, agents can either purchase one or get it for free from Kudi. They receive a commission for every transaction they facilitate on the platform.

Kudi’s Cash Insurance product allows agents to insure against the loss of cash deposited with them. They can get this for a minimum of ₦8,500, and insure cash deposits of up to ₦2 million.

The Kudi app is available for download on Google Play Store.

Featured image source: Apptopia

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This article was first published on 21st October 2019


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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