Paga has created a multi-channel network that enables more than 14 million Nigerian users to transfer money, make payments and shop digitally, either through its mobile app or via its 24,840 agents. The payments platform acts as a mobile wallet, giving users the power to electronically transfer money and make mobile payments.
Founded in 2009 by Tayo Oviosu in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, Paga was publicly launched in 2011. The startup grew its FinTech business in West Africa and then expanded to Ethiopia and Mexico.
The partnership gives Paga account holders the ability to transact on Visa’s global network, and will also see both companies work together on technology developments. The arrangement will bring new merchant options to Paga’s network.
“We are excited to partner with Visa, a leader in payments globally, as they are constantly building world-class solutions for consumers and businesses. Our goals are well-aligned. As we scale our wallet across emerging markets such as Nigeria, Mexico and Ethiopia, partnering with Visa to give both consumers and businesses, who have been underserved, access to Visa’s global network made sense to us,” the company said in a press release.
Although Visa’s partnership with Paga doesn’t include a monetary investment, the collaboration aligns with the company’s strategy to expand across Africa and work with the continent’s top startups. The move is expected to drive larger payment volumes for both firms.
“We want to digitize cash – that’s a strategic priority for us. We want to expand merchant access to payment acceptance and we want to drive financial inclusion,” said Otto Williams, head of strategic partnerships, FinTech and ventures for Visa in Africa. “Based on the partnership, we’re going to launch QR codes and NFC [payments] into the market in Nigeria – alternative ways of receiving payments than bringing out a physical card.”
Visa and Paga’s engineering teams have already started working together, according to Oviosu, and Paga expects to roll out these new options in Nigeria sometime in second-quarter 2020.
Paga expanded its operations in January with the acquisition of Apposit, a software development startup based in Ethiopia.