Nigerian lending platform on its way to becoming a digital bank, secures $5m debt facility

When Nigerian financial technology company One Finance Limited (OneFi), the parent company of mobile lending platform, Paylater became the first African Fintech to secure a “BB” rating with a Stable outlook from leading emerging market focused ratings agency Global Credit Rating Co. (GCR), it signified its readiness to move to the next stage of its development. At the time, co-founder and CEO Chijioke Dozie said the rating meant Paylater is now held to the same levels of transparency and scrutiny as other leading financial institutions in Nigeria. The mobile lending platform is now transitioning into a full service digital bank having secured a $5 million debt facility from New York and Nairobi-based Lendable, the credit provider backed by several institutions including the Omidyar Network.

“Securing this investment from Lendable represents the first internationally-backed commercial debt transaction for us, marking an important stage of our company’s development as we look to serve the “next billion”,” says Dozie.

“As we transition into a full service digital bank, this financing will allow us to execute on a number of new products. This includes our partnership with Visa, whereby we’ll be providing credit via QR codes at supermarkets, clinics and on public transport in H1 2019.”  

OneFi plans to enable offline payments via lower cost QR installations, proffering a solution to paucity of digital payment options outside major cities. There are currently only 120,000 active Point of Sale (POS) merchants in Nigeria and more than half of the transactions they process occur in Lagos alone. But with Nigeria’s 150 million active mobile phone connections, OneFi will be able to help millions of customers transact at their point of need.

“We are proud to support OneFi’s mission of providing credit to the underbanked consumer and SME segments in Nigeria,” says Daniel Goldfarb, Lendable CEO. “They are an incredible example of a company that has found product market fit in a massive market, and are working tirelessly to provide a best-in-class service to those customers.”