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Paystack, one of Nigeria’s leading payment gateways announced a partnership with Truecaller on Monday to help facilitate online payments across Africa.

According to a press release sent to Nairametrics, Paystack will use Truecaller’s database of verified phone numbers to authenticate payments for transaction executed on its platform. Paystack explains that its merchants can now verify their mobile identity via its platform.

It’s founder and CEO, Shola Akinlade remarked that the partnership is “able to guarantee that all businesses paid via Paystack are thoroughly checked for legitimacy and credibility. In a low-trust environment like Nigeria where many people are paying online for the first time, it’s important to deliver a safe, fraud-free experience, and this is a responsibility that Paystack takes extremely seriously.”

Trust and identity are snags to the mass utilization of online payment options such as Paystack in Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa. For the company to increase its adoption rate, it requires its users to trust their merchants through verification with an application that they know and rely on.

Truecaller is widely used in Africa to verify callers, so it’s easy to see why Paystack is partnering with them. According to data from Truecaller, over 50 million Africans use their platform

Paystack reports that nearly 20% of all online transactions in Nigeria is processed through Paystack, and the company powers payments for companies like Domino’s Pizza, Opera, Taxify, and Axa Mansard (one of Nigeria’s largest insurance companies).

A Y Combinator alum, Paystack was founded in 2015 by Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi, and is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. Investors include Tencent, Comcast Ventures, Singularity Investments, and Ventures Platform.

See the press release below;

LAGOS, March 19th, 2018 – Paystack (paystack.com) has partnered with Truecaller (truecaller.com) to allow more merchants across Africa accept payments online in a frictionless and secure manner by leveraging Truecaller’s mobile identity product, Truecaller SDK. The partnership will also provide powerful tools that businesses and startups across Africa can use to verify the mobile identity of their customers, and in turn, further help in creating more trust in the online payments landscape on the continent.

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Paystack is one of Nigeria’s largest payments startups, processing nearly 20% of all online transactions in Africa’s largest economy. The company (the first Nigerian startup to get into the celebrated Y Combinator Accelerator) aims to allow merchants in Africa accept payments from anyone, anywhere in the world.

Previously, all merchants who wanted to accept payments with Paystack had to be registered with various regulatory bodies. In Nigeria, where the vast majority of businesses are unregistered, the requirement to be registered prevented many legitimate offline businesses from realizing the benefits of online payments.


The Paystack-Truecaller partnership means that in addition to Paystack’s proprietary merchant risk assessment checks, merchants can now verify their mobile identity via  Truecaller. Integrating Truecaller’s mobile number identity product as a verification mechanism strengthens the Paystack platform’s merchant verification process and also makes it possible to open up Paystack to the millions of unregistered businesses who were previously unable to accept online payments with Paystack.

In the words of Paystack CEO, Shola Akinlade, “This partnership with Truecaller allows Paystack to deliver on our promise of trust as well as a frictionless experience. We want to be able to guarantee that all businesses paid via Paystack are thoroughly checked for legitimacy and credibility. In a low-trust environment like Nigeria where many people are paying online for the first time, it’s important to deliver a safe, fraud-free experience, and this is a responsibility that Paystack takes extremely seriously.”

Shola adds: “We needed to balance the strong desire to open Paystack up to unregistered business against the equally strong obligation to protect the interests of customers. Customers need the firm assurance that every Paystack merchant they pay is a vetted business, and our partnership with Truecaller ensures that we can continue to be worthy of customers’ trust.”

In addition to using Truecaller as part of the merchant verification flow, Paystack will also be introducing Truecaller as a verification option for local developers and startups who want to verify the identity of their own customers on Paystack’s developer platform.

Paystack already makes three verification options available to developers – the ability to verify the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of customers (BVN is an identifying number issued by Nigerian regulators), the ability to verify bank account details, and the ability to verify card details. Truecaller will be a fourth, new verification option, and the impact of this will be to create more trust in the payments flow for African businesses.

A typical use case would be a micro-lending app. In addition to their in-house customer verification steps and use of Paystack’s proprietary verification tools, the Paystack-Truecaller partnership now allows the makers of the lending app to verify the true identity of borrowers by their mobile identity, i.e. with their phone number.


Over 50 million Africans use Truecaller, and the app has helped Nigerian users block over 13 million calls and 25 million spam SMS, monthly. In November 2017, Truecaller announced plans to deepen the collaboration with the business, startup and developer ecosystem in Africa, and the partnership with Paystack represents a strong move towards helping African businesses leverage the power of Truecaller’s mobile identity platform.

Truecaller Head of Global Developer & Startup Relations, Priyam Bose, underscored the importance of this groundbreaking partnership: “Paystack is enabling the growth of a vibrant online payment ecosystem and the digitization of businesses for the Nigerian economy. Truecaller is excited to play a strong role in this vision by enabling tools that increase trust and enable frictionless payments across Africa, powered by Paystack.”

Paystack-Truecaller partnership at a glance

  • Unregistered local businesses can now receive online payments after being verified via Paystack’s in-house verification process, which now includes phone number identity verification powered by Truecaller
  • Businesses and developers receiving payments via Paystack can now build customer verification tools on top of Paystack’s Truecaller phone number verification API


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