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How to Start a Fintech Company in Nigeria

For years now, there has been a growing interest in the Nigerian fintech, but the recent acquisition of Paystack for over $200 million has exponentially increased this interest. Nigerians now want to learn more about this industry, and what it takes to start a fintech company. 

Here, you will read the guideline of starting your own fintech company in Nigeria, but let’s dive in by explaining what fintech means. 

Paystack Co-founders

What Is Fintech?

Fintech is a portmanteau word from finance and technology. It involves the development of software platforms that can handle financial services. Fintech platforms are becoming increasingly popular among users as financial transactions can now be done without the need for a broker and without visiting a banking hall.

Services offered by major fintech companies in Nigeria include money lending, insurance, investment, betting, money transfers, payment, savings and fundraising. If you intend to start your own fintech company, below are steps you need to follow. 

How to start a fintech company in Nigeria

  • Choose a niche

When it comes to fintech companies in Nigeria, there are three major categories. The first is fund movement, and this category deals in giving and receiving payment. Its services include currency, payment solutions, and remittances. The second is fund placement, and this category involves services like savings, investment, and lending. 

How to Start a Fintech Company in Nigeria

The third is data management, and this involves analytics and getting insight for better financial decision making. Each of these categories requires a particular license from CBN, so you should know the category that your fintech will fall into. 

Note, however, that CBN doesn’t support fintech that wants to deal in virtual currency. Therefore, starting such companies in Nigeria is regarded as illegal. 

  • Work on a business plan

After choosing a niche, the next thing you want to do when starting a fintech company in Nigeria is to draw up a business plan. This will make you put into writing how you want to run the company, the financial implication and revenue projection, the competitions, marketing, among others. 

A good business plan will have an executive summary, the company overview, product and services, industry and market analysis, sales and marketing, operations, hiring and recruitment, funding, etc. Depending on whether you know how to do it or whether you have the time, you can write the business plan yourself or outsource it to a professional.

business plan
  • Register with CAC

Although it operates online, fintech is still regarded as a business. Therefore, fintech founders are mandated to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). To get started with CAC’s registration, search their website for the availability of the name of your fintech.

Register with CAC

Once you confirm the availability of the name, send your application to CAC, with the following information and documents. 

  • Company address
  • Authorized Capital of the Company (the regular authorized share capital for a local company is N1 million)
  • Particulars of 2 Directors and Shareholders.
  • Statutory Declaration of Compliance with the requirements of CAMA by a Legal Practitioner
  • The documents required for the second stage and completion of the incorporation with CAC include:
  • Signed and Stamped Copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Original documents authorizing the incorporation where applicable.
  • Photocopy of the information page of the passport or the national identity card of each director or shareholder.

Note that if you are a foreigner or there are foreigners among the shareholders, they are expected to obtain a business permit, and register with Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and National Office of Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP). 

  • Obtain fintech licence from CBN or collaborate with a licensee

Early fintech companies in Nigeria operated without any main licencing or regulatory body, but everything changed in 2018 when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a licensing regime called Payment Systems Providers (PSP). The licensing regime is meant to guide against fraud and cyber risks, so every intending fintech company is expected to obtain it before an operation. 

CBN

CBN categories PSP into three groups, and they are as follow:

  1. Basic Licence 

This is meant for fintech companies that deploy Point of Sale (POS) or terminal services. The licence is also required for fintechs that are into payment processing gateway and related solutions. The shareholder requirement for this licence is ₦100 million, and the licence fee costs between ₦100,000 – ₦500,000.

  1. Standard Licence

This licence is the requirement for fintechs that want to create wallets, serve as agent recruiters and e-money issuers. Shareholders fund is a minimum of ₦3 billion, while the licence fee is between ₦500,000 – ₦1,000,000. 

  1. Super Licence

This licence is the ultimate, and it is required by fintechs that want to offer payment gateway platforms with switching services. Minimum shareholder fund is ₦5 billion, and the licence fee is between ₦1 – ₦2 million per year for 3 years. 

While an intending fintech company is required to get a relevant licence based on its identified niche and the services it plans to offer, you can still start your company without getting any of the licences. All you have to do is to partner with a licensee and your developers can get to work. 

  • Get funding

To run a successful fintech company, you need money to hire the best developers and pay for the best cloud hosting technology. You also need money for marketing. Sources of funds for your fintech startup can come from personal savings, family and friends, grants from the government, loans from banks, angel investors, and venture capitalists. 

How to Start a Fintech Company in Nigeria

While the early days of a fintech company in Nigeria can be daunting because of requirements and licencing, the end game can be rewarding. Stay focused, follow the relevant guidelines, and develop a revolutionary product. Your fintech could become the next unicorn out of Africa and maybe acquired for an amount more than that of Paystack.  

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