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Most emerging fintech startups in Nigeria seek to solve the problem of financial inclusion. That is making financial services and products available to various underserved segments of Nigerian society. Many startups have been able to provide insurance, savings, payments, and access to credits to these groups of people in different ways.

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On the other hand, those facilitating payments rely on P2P wallets, cards(virtual and physical), USSD etc to provide payment options to Nigerians. There are millions of banked Nigerians, yet only 8%  of them use debit cards. The rest who don’t are mostly because of high POS failure rates, delayed settlement periods, card fraud, low literacy levels, etc. 

As much as many startups are digitizing cash, many unbanked or underbanked people still prefer to use cash. Hence, they miss out on the benefits of making digital payments. They can not even build a spending history to get access to credit.

Besides, not everyone in Nigeria has a card, bank account, or is educated enough but they all have fingerprints, palms and faces.  Imagine what it will feel like to pay for your foodstuff or just anything with your face, fingerprint, or palm. This is the service offering Torche is bringing with its biometric-enabled solution.

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Torche Africa is a Nigerian-based startup trying to overhaul the entire payment infrastructure in Nigeria. It wants to replace the current payment system with a biometric one that is modelled after India’s Aadhaar program. Torche was co-founded by CEO Sisan Dorsu, Gbenga Oni and Fawaz Abaniwonda in 2021. According to its CEO, the tech ecosystem is expanding, but it is not yet fully stable. This made it difficult to pay for something using the POS.  For example,  if you want to make a payment, you may be required to wait due to a lack of network or even card displacement. Again, many don’t even own smartphones and so can not use mobile apps and internet connections. Thus, Sisan and her partners founded Torche on the belief that since biometrics help people prove their identity virtually, it can be also used for transactions. 

Now, Torche has made it possible to pay with fingerprints, palm prints and faces. The platform’s technology is inclusive, it supports three biometric methods. The first method was fingerprinting, then it expanded to face and palm biometrics. After it was found out that fingerprints did not work as well for people who work with their hands.

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The platform wants to onboard50,000 merchants in Nigeria in the next 12 months. The company has also entered the Techstars NYC accelerator program to try to boost its growth. And will pursue expansion into other countries (in Africa and beyond) within the next five years. 

How it works

The first thing to do is register with Torche and sign in. Fund your Torche wallet and start paying with your face, finger and palmprint

Bottom line 

People who link their existing bank accounts with Torche can make transactions with just their fingerprints, palm prints and faces. When you purchase goods from merchants onboarded in Torche, you will just put any of the three biometric methods on their smartphones to make payments. You don’t need to carry your cards around or even worry about your PINs or passwords. Torche helps you Say goodbye to them.

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This article was first published on 24th August 2022


I am an accomplished content creator and recently delved into technical writing. I enjoy using my skills to contribute to the exciting technological advances and create awareness of evolving technological trends in Nigeria.

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