Carbon targets SMEs and fintechs with new financial services platform

Carbon, a Nigeria-based digital financial services company, has launched Carbon for Business, a digital financial services platform that provides startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and FinTechs with the services and technology they need to build and scale their businesses.

With access to uncollateralized credit, secure online payments, reliable funds transfer and fast KYC (know your customer) compliance obligations, businesses can take advantage of Carbon’s infrastructure to achieve business objectives and strategic goals, boost their value offerings and get to market faster.

The platform will offer businesses the opportunity to access APIs and various services. These include: CarbonIVS, an identity verification system that enables businesses perform KYC and anti-money laundering services on prospective staff or other parties. Carbon IVS is integrated with all major identity databases including passport, Bank Verification Number (BVN), driver’s license and voters registration. The platform will also include Optimus, an affordable and reliable funds transfer platform that provides low cost transfers. For qualified businesses, Optimus also provide an overdraft facility that allows customers short-term funding needed to make critical payments during short-term cash shortages. The platform will also enable businesses to accept online payments from Visa, Verve and Mastercard in over 40 currencies with all transactions being PCI DSS compliant, 3D Secure enabled, and processed through an SSL encrypted channel. It will also provide SMEs with up to ₦20 million uncollateralized business loans with flexible repayment terms.

“As part of our goal of connecting businesses with the funds and services that will enable them to thrive and expand, we are aiming to provide robust infrastructure and a suite of services that will transform their processes. Carbon for Business will signal a new era of business growth and transformation, especially for businesses that have been overwhelmed by complexities and rigidity of mundane financial services technologies and traditional sources of financing,“ said Chijioke Dozie, CEO of Carbon.

Since launching in 2016, Carbon has amassed more than 1 million users, initially providing consumers with access to credit, simple payments solutions, high-yield investment opportunities and easy-to-use tools for personal financial management. The company has disbursed more than $35.6 million in loans and in 2018 alone achieved revenues of $10.4 million. This expansion into business-focussed users represents the next step on the journey of becoming the most versatile digital finance platform, anywhere.

In today’s emerging markets, starting and running a business depends on a combination of having the right technology, payment infrastructure, legal obligation and access to affordable finance. Unfortunately, most SMEs do not have access to this fundamental framework for survival. According to the World Bank, in 2018, about 70 percent of businesses could not access finance from the banks. In Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, the share of SME lending in the overall loan portfolios of banks varies between 5 to 20 percent with 45 percent of businesses in emerging markets lacking access to the right technology partners. These are some of the reasons why Carbon has decided to provide the Carbon for Business platform.

Carbon is inviting SMEs to take advantage of its infrastructure to access affordable finance in two ways: through the SME finance product and by offering overdrafts on the Optimus product. With agency banking and traditional e-payments, businesses regularly face challenges with liquidity, access to cash flow over weekends and long settlement cycles. Carbon for Business, using Optimus, will give businesses quicker access to funds at a far lower rate than the banks while availing them the cash they need to meet business needs when they need it.

The Carbon for Business platform is also part of Carbon’s advocacy efforts in pushing the Nigerian banking and financial services industry towards adopting Open API standards, as signalled by their recent partnership with Open Banking Nigeria.

Carbon, a product of OneFi, is Nigeria’s digital financial services platform that empowers individuals and businesses with access to credit, simple payments solutions, high-yield investment opportunities and easy-to-use tools for personal financial management. The firm has over 90 staff based within its operations in Nigeria, UK and Kenya.

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