Carbon, one of Nigeria’s foremost digital financial services company, has launched a digital financial services platform, Carbon for Business, to provide startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and FinTechs with credits and technology required to build and scale their businesses.
What it means: It means the company’s clients can now access uncollateralised credit, secure online payments, reliable funds transfer and fast know your customer (KYC) 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.
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Platform’s USP: The Unique Selling Proposition of the platform includes offering adequate security for its users. For instance, the Carbon IV, which is an identity verification system that enables businesses perform KYC and anti-money laundering services on prospective staff or other parties, is integrated with all major identity databases including passport, Bank Verification Number (BVN), driver’s license and voter’s card.
Fund transfers and overdraft: The platform also offers Optimus, an affordable and reliable funds transfer platform that provides low-cost transfers. For qualified businesses, it provides an overdraft facility that allows customers short-term funding needed to make critical payments during short-term cash shortages.
Online payments: Businesses will be able to accept online payments from Visa, Verve and Mastercard in over 40 currencies. All transactions are PCI DSS compliant, 3D Secure enabled, and processed through an SSL encrypted channel.
SME business loans: User can access loan up to ₦20 million uncollateralized flexible repayment loans.
Chief Executive Officer, Carbon, Chijioke Dozie, said, “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.“
Background: Since 2016, Carbon has empowered over 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-focused 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% 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% with 45% 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.