Nigerians have always had a love-hate relationship with their banks as a result of inefficient service deliveries, serial downtimes, bad loans, and experiences. This has made many people distrust banking services. Neobanks have cashed in on these challenges to realise that opportunities abound for their existence.
Currently, they are now competing for the attention of banked but unsatisfied customers. As such, Neobanks are now flourishing in Africa, especially in Nigeria, where new fintech is providing cheaper and more personalized banking services.
Sparkle is a Neobank that uses standard features such as savings, bill payments, top-ups, requesting or sending funds, as well as less common features like bill splitting and reviewing spending breakdowns to attract customers in a crowded market.
Sparkle was founded by an ex-CEO of Diamond bank Uzoma Dozie in 2020. It closed a seed round of $3.1 million in October 2021 to scale its operations. The investment came after Sparkle has previously closed a friends and family pre-seed round of $2 million in 2020.
The round was led by Leadway Assurance whileTrium Network and a few unnamed high-net-worth individuals participated. Sparkle intended to use the investment for two purposes: building robotic process automation to help with mundane and repetitive processes, and then hiring talent across engineering, finance risk, and marketing.
Sparkle is different from other fintech because they offer both financial services and lifestyle services. Its pitch rests on the fact that customers are not only seen from the financial standpoint, rather they have also seen in terms of whatever they need to do at any particular time.
As a result, Sparkle provides financial, lifestyle, and business support services to Nigerians. Sparkle service offerings include:
- Open an account and save money.
- Analyze expenses and categorize finance.
- Send and request money( features scheduled payments, QR payments, and Sparkle pay
- Physical or virtual cards
Furthermore, the startup launched Sparkle Business in 2021 to amass a different set of underserved users: SMEs. The business offering is so widespread for small and medium-sized businesses.
In addition, businesses in this category now have access to inventory and invoice management, tax advice, and payroll and employee management services. These features can be accessed by SMEs with a tax identification number (TIN) and an email address which is the lowest form of documentation in the market for businesses.
Customers can have multiple accounts (personal and business) and switch on various phones whenever they want to with the same enhanced security as other platforms that allow login on a single phone.
Since its launch, the Neobank has acquired over 40,000 customers on the individual banking side and 2,000 businesses. Customers are required to pay small fees to keep their accounts running while businesses pay for most features except taxation services.
Sparkle Microfinance Bank is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and all deposits are insured by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). It has secured a partnership with Visa to allow users to make in-person or digital payments with a Visa card and partners with companies like Network International and PwC Nigeria. Finally, Sparkle is available for download on the Google Play Store and Ios app store.Featured Image Source: Business Post Nigeria
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