By Adedeji Olowe and Ifunanya Ezeani

Either with technology or vanilla traditional finance, operating within the finance space in Nigeria, as in every country, is heavily regulated. Providing financial services without a license can be a criminal offence for some and definitely attracts heavy sanctions for all. It’s pretty simple — playing with someone’s money is like playing with someone’s life — you have to prove you know how to do it. …

In Kenya, an estimated 3.2 million people — 6% of the population — have been blacklisted on Kenya’s TransUnion credit reference bureau for non-repayment of digital credit loans. Being placed on a blacklist like this means that you won’t take loans from any other lender.

It would also mean that you will be ineligible for post-paid services like pay TV. While there’s a lot of debate as to whether blacklists promote financial exclusion, I believe that it is a useful tool in shaping people’s credit behavior.

Take Nigeria, for instance, where it is taken for granted by prospective lenders that…

Consumer lending is basically loans to individuals, like me and you, to purchase goods and services. Of the forms of consumer lending, credit cards are perhaps the most popular.

Yet, if you’re a Nigerian reading this, that last sentence is not very relatable, mostly because not only is consumer lending uncommon in Nigeria, credit card penetration is so low you have probably never seen a Nigerian with a credit card before. Given the massive size of the Nigerian economy, our stats on personal loans and credit cards is very shocking.

There are even more. In 2020, lending to consumers fell…

This week, two Nigerian banks began blocking the accounts of individuals trading crypto and the accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges. It followed regulation from the Central Bank of Nigeria banning the activity of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

It sent crypto exchanges like BuyCoins, Luno, Quidax, etc., which have become immensely popular in Nigeria, into a frenzy; the task before them was to move their money from Nigerian banks before the freezes went into place. It was a curious move by CBN in a week where Bitcoin had hit record highs and coins like DOGE were gaining value.

Ironically, the CBN…

Wishing us an awesome 2021 — source: Pixabay

Now for the fourth year, here are my predictions for digital payments in 2021 with the hope that it offers a better time for everyone than 2020. You probably have heard it a thousand times; 2020 was a shitty year for almost everyone except for technology and especially payments.

Those worst hit by 2020, apart from the folks who lost their lives (may their soul rest in peace even if I don’t believe in the afterlife), are pundits like me whose predictions were thoroughly trashed.

But despite this, we all still look forward to these fintech predictions for 2021; who am I not to serve you a hot dose of fiction wrapped as facts?

Let’s do it!

#1 Visa buys Interswitch for $800m

Earlier last year, before Covid spanked everyone, I laid out an argument that Visa could buy Interswitch. Despite the global pandemic and its attendant economic fallouts in Nigeria, the thought has only…

I was recently working with a traditional financial service provider to launch a product online. And they insisted on applicants providing utility bills. Then the trouble started! Even though argued strenuously against this, but they also brought valid arguments. So, I had to take a step back to ask; why the hell do we need utility bills to start with?

I’m sure you’ve all experienced this at different times — your bank tells you a sexy story about applying for something, and bam, they hit you with a request for a utility bill. …

Hardly a day goes by without someone screaming on Twitter about their bank taking their money even while doing little or no transactions. Trust me, Nigerian banks are optimized for money making but hey, who said you can’t beat them at their games?

Don’t let your bank rob you!

Here are simple steps you can take to take control of your money and minimize how nicely you get shaved by our Sashe bankers.

Get yourself a savings account because current accounts are for dummies

Banks can charge an account maintenance fee of up to N1 for every N1,000 that danced across your accounts. …


Improving access to credit has been high on the agenda of several international organizations and policymakers for many years. This is mostly because a large part of the world lives in poverty, with individuals and businesses lacking access to credit [1]. Nigeria has a high poverty rate, with about 86 million people living in extreme poverty and about 146 million people living below the upper-middle-income line [2]. These contribute to why a lot of individuals require access to credit to meet short, medium- and long-term financial needs.

Access to credit and financial inclusion are closely related [1], and they…

In December 2010, Helios Investment Partners led an acquisition of a majority interest in what is now Africa’s first fintech unicorn — Interswitch. A decade later, Visa’s $200M funding confirms the hope of every investor in the first 10–12 years of their investment, an exit — Initial Price Offering (IPO) in this instance. What is more interesting is that Visa has been strategically acquiring fintech assets over the last few years and now has investments in 3 of the top fintechs in Nigeria — Flutterwave, Paystack, and Interswitch.

However, this strategy could go in more interesting ways and not always…

2019 was an interesting year for payments globally, and our dear Nigeria wasn’t left out of the parte. But 2020 would be even much more exciting as many of the payments food that got on the fire last year would be served piping hot at the start of the new decade. 2020 would be lit!

As usual, I would be trying out my hands in seeing the future even if I desperately need a pair of glasses to see the tip of my pointy nose in the real world.

So, here’s the third annual prediction of the payments ecosystem in…

Adedeji Olowe

I do venture capital by day; Open Banking and financial inclusion by night. I usually blog from

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store