The Silicon Valley-based startup Stellar, an open-source payment network that’s backed by Stripe, has announced a new partnership aimed at bringing instant money transfers to Nigeria.
That partnership with Oradian, a FinTech company that provides core-banking software for local financial organizations and provider of microfinance systems to enable financial inclusion, was created to launch a financial network for underbanked communities and low-cost money transfers for rural Nigerians.
What this solution does is provide rural Nigerians access to affordable direct payments, which can replace the method in which people in that region typically deliver cash — by hand, or having another traveler or bus driver deliver the funds.
Stellar.org is a a nonprofit foundation that supports a universal financial platform, and Oradian announced this low-cost live payment transfer network among microfinance organizations, which integrated the open-source Stellar network into Oradian’s core-banking software.
Stellar is an open source protocol that lets users send and receive money between any pair of currencies – by using its own digital currency (conceptually similar to bitcoin) which happens to be called “stellar.” The use of stellar creates an IP layer between payment systems and currencies that serves as a common financial platform that can be used worldwide.
That specific network reaches a total of 200 branches and serves over 300,000 end clients (over 90 percent are women), mainly in rural areas across Nigeria. This is particularly relevant in Nigeria, where a majority of the population is underbanked or unbanked.
“We are delighted to be working with Stellar, as this supports our ambition to empower the delivery of financial services to the underserved. With Stellar’s technology, we change the way money is being handled and transferred across geographies, in a secure, instant and cheap manner. This new disruptive service further proves that Oradian’s core-banking system is the leader in bringing new services to the underserved at scale, ” said Antonio Separovic, Managing Director at Oradian.
Nigeria is both Africa’s largest nation by population, and it is also the continent’s largest economy. The population is also proportionally rather young and port city Lagos is increasingly becoming a middle class haven. The population, however, is largely (80 percent) unbanked. Oradian aims to bridge the gap between Nigeria’s burgeoning economy and its unbanked citizens by enabling efficient and reliable financial transactions. With its new partnership with Stellar, this now connected financial software can link previously siloed or isolated markets, bringing services to people who previously couldn’t access them.
Through the integration of Stellar’s network, Oradian will be able to offer money transfers between their branches easier. Also, MFI customers in rural areas will be able to send money to other MFI customers in distant villages or cities — and in real time. They can do so by visiting their local branch.
“We’re beyond excited to be working with Oradian to launch the first live transfer network in Nigeria,” said Joyce Kim, Executive Director of Stellar.org. “With the Oradian integration, communities that primarily relied upon cash for money transfer in and out of their villages can now transfer money instantly and safely, regardless of their location. This is the first step towards creating a universal payment network for the unbanked, and brings us closer to fulfilling Stellar.org’s mission of using a universal platform to bring financial services to all.”