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Finance Apps’ Deployment Rises by 160% in Nigeria – Report

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AppsFlyer, a global marketing measurement firm has released the 2021 edition of its ‘State of Finance App Marketing,’ report, carried out across Nigeria and other selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report however showed that COVID-19 pandemic directly impacted how consumers interact with financial institutions and how the institutions themselves operate.

According to the report, Financial Technology (FinTech) apps were in high demand, experiencing a 132 per cent leap globally in downloads in the last two years, while sub-Saharan Africa saw impressive growth, with installs in Nigeria climbing 160 per cent, up 100 per cent in Kenya and rising by 52 per cent in South Africa.

Commenting on the growth of finance apps across Africa, the Regional Vice President for EMEA, in charge of Strategic Projects for AppsFlyer, Daniel Junowicz, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated the adoption of financial technology globally and in emerging markets especially, finance apps helped millions of consumers and businesses remain connected. This trend is likely to continue and understanding how to best market their apps will be key to African businesses standing out from the crowd and growing their customer base.”

Junowicz added, “With this year heading for a record with total spend globally, reaching no less than $1.2 billion in Q1 alone, we believe that combining different types of marketing activities in addition to improving the registration funnel by optimizing and shortening the time from install to registration will give marketers the edge to utilize their 2021 budget to the fullest.”

Giving details of the deployment of finance apps in Africa, Junowicz said demand for finance apps became all-time high, where downloads of finance apps shot up over the last year. With 56 per cent of the unbanked population in Nigeria many are turning to apps to access key financial solutions including, loans 43.3 per cent, financial services at 35.6 per cent, and investments at 20.3 per cent.

“Nigeria’s Cost Per Install is up 70 per cent since Q2, leading to a spike in spend, especially in Q1 2021 when budgets almost tripled. While each of the three key regions have experienced growth in marketing activity in the last year, Kenya’s overall growth in the last two years has fallen,” the report said.

Giving key global insights about the use of finance app, the report stated that digital banking installs up 45 per cent, while traditional banks gain 22 per cent in 2021. Finance app installs increased 20 per cent overall, but financial services and traditional banking app installs saw only a 15 per cent increase between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021. However, only in the first quarter of 2021, traditional banks picked up speed with a 22 per cent rise in installs.

It said there was 3.3 times growth in the number of re-marketing conversions between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, adding that following a 32 per cent drop in spend in Q2 of 2020 in global market, efforts rebounded in Q3 and with rising user acquisition costs, marketers increased activity in remarketing, which soared 3 times by Q1 2021. Overall, the growth path of non-organic installs continued upward, hitting 172 per cent growth between 2019 and now.

The report added: “Demand for finance apps is rising across the globe, as 29 of the top 40 finance markets by app installs, enjoyed a growth of at least 20 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY), however it was the developing markets that dominated the number of installs. The average number of downloads in developing markets was 70 per cent higher than the average in developed markets, with India, Brazil and Indonesia making up almost half of the global number of downloads.”

Head of Content and Mobile Insight at AppsFlyer, Shani Rosenfelder, said: “FinTech experienced rapid digital transformation over the last year, with the pandemic leading to a shift in mindset even for those that have been slow to adapt.

“Marketers should strive for efficiency with their spend by following the rising Cost Per Install trend and focusing on user acquisition to meet new demand. Marketers should also explore more affordable re-marketing campaigns to keep their brand top of mind amid rising market competition.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Visa and Mastercard Face Setback as Judge Indicates Likely Rejection of $30 Billion Deal

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Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. are facing a potential setback as a federal judge in Brooklyn indicated she is likely to reject their $30 billion settlement with retailers.

The deal, aimed at capping credit-card swipe fees, has been a focal point of contention between the card giants and merchants for years.

Judge Margo Brodie of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York expressed skepticism about the settlement during a hearing on Thursday.

According to court records, Judge Brodie suggested she might not approve the agreement, stating she would issue a written decision in the coming days.

Retailers have long campaigned to reduce their share of the costs associated with accepting card payments, known as interchange fees.

These fees, which are partially passed on to banks that issue the cards, including major institutions like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., have been a burden for many merchants.

Announced in March and pending court approval, the settlement was designed to allow merchants to charge consumers extra for transactions involving Visa or Mastercard credit cards.

The agreement also aimed to introduce pricing tactics to steer consumers towards lower-cost cards.

“The court’s comments strongly suggest that she won’t accept the settlement,” noted Justin Teresi, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “While Judge Brodie doesn’t seem convinced that larger retailers should be allowed to opt out from the settlement, provisions like changes to digital wallet acceptance rules and some state bans on surcharges likely present real adequacy issues.”

Both Visa and Mastercard expressed disappointment over the developments. A Mastercard representative stated, “We believe the settlement presented a fair resolution of this long-standing dispute, most notably by giving business owners more flexibility in how they manage their card acceptance activities. We will pursue our options to ensure a proper resolution of this matter.”

Visa’s spokesperson echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that “continued engagement between industry and the merchants is the best way forward.”

Swipe fees have become a substantial financial issue for retailers, totaling more than $160 billion last year, according to the Merchants Payments Coalition. Reactions to the settlement were mixed when it was announced, with some retail coalitions pledging a thorough review and others quickly opposing it.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, representing large merchants such as Target Corp. and Home Depot Inc., described the settlement as a “mere drop in the bucket” and urged careful review to assess if it adequately addresses the harm inflicted on retailers.

Doug Kantor, general counsel for the National Association of Convenience Stores, praised the judge’s remarks, stating, “We’re gratified to see that the court recognized how bad this settlement was.”

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African Fintech Kuda Raises $100M Despite Investment Challenges

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Kuda Technologies, a leading fintech company with operations in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, has successfully raised nearly $100 million in funding over the past five years.

This significant milestone was revealed by the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Babs Ogundeyi, during a panel session at the GITEX Africa conference in Morocco.

The GITEX Africa 2024 technology fair, which runs from May 29 to 31 in Marrakech, brings together over 1,500 exhibitors from 130 countries and nearly 700 startups.

During the event, Ogundeyi highlighted Kuda’s growth journey and the difficulties African fintech startups face in attracting foreign investment.

“We launched in Nigeria in August 2019 and have raised close to $100 million within that period,” Ogundeyi announced during the panel session titled “Beyond the Starting Lane: Navigating Advanced Funding.”

The session also featured prominent figures such as Sacha Michaud, co-founder of Glovo in Spain; Yassine Oussaifi, partner at Africinvest Tunisia; and Katlego Maphai, CEO of Yoco South Africa.

The discussion centered on the challenges and strategies for securing advanced funding for startups.

Ogundeyi emphasized that African startups often struggle to secure foreign investment due to investors’ unfamiliarity with the local market environment.

To mitigate this, Kuda Technologies established its headquarters in the UK, facilitating easier access to funding from Western investors.

“We are headquartered in the UK, but we are Africa-focused, and there is a reason why we are headquartered in the UK. It’s very much related to access to funding. The capital comes primarily from the west. It’s easier to attract capital in those jurisdictions,” Ogundeyi explained.

He stressed that securing funding is a rigorous process, particularly in Africa, where trust levels are low.

“When we raised our seed funding, the majority of investors had not been to Africa before, making it difficult to connect with something they didn’t understand. It goes beyond investors seeing the numbers or potential; if you don’t have a feel for the environment or understand the psyche of the people, it becomes very difficult to connect resources to that region,” Ogundeyi elaborated.

Despite the challenges, Kuda Technologies has made significant strides. Its subsidiary, Kuda Microfinance Bank in Nigeria, has grown its customer base to 7.5 million users, making it one of the largest fintech companies in Africa.

The company’s expansion strategy includes obtaining licenses in Canada and Tanzania, reflecting its vision of global reach.

Ogundeyi’s insights were echoed by Sacha Michaud, who noted that venture capitalists tend to invest in regions where they feel comfortable.

“We launched in Africa six years ago and were in high funding mode. In every funding round, we had to convince our investors why we were focusing on the region when we could invest our resources in higher-return areas like Europe,” Michaud shared.

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Flutterwave Hit by Another Security Breach, Billions of Naira Diverted to Multiple Bank Accounts

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In another blow to the financial technology sector, Flutterwave, a prominent player in Nigeria’s digital payment landscape, has been rocked by yet another security breach, resulting in the diversion of billions of naira to multiple undisclosed bank accounts.

This incident is the latest in a series of setbacks for the fintech company, raising concerns about the integrity of its systems and the safety of customer funds.

According to insider sources familiar with the matter, unauthorized transactions amounting to approximately ₦11 billion ($7 million) were illicitly transferred to several accounts during April 2024.

However, other sources suggest the figure could be as high as ₦20 billion ($13.5 million), underscoring the magnitude of the breach.

Flutterwave, responding to inquiries regarding the breach, acknowledged the unauthorized activities but stopped short of confirming the exact amount involved.

In a statement to TechCabal, the company assured the public that no customer funds were lost or compromised, and the confidentiality of customer data remained intact.

The modus operandi of the perpetrators involved transferring the stolen funds to various accounts across five financial institutions over a span of four days.

To evade detection, the transactions were carefully orchestrated to stay below thresholds that trigger fraud checks, highlighting the sophistication of the operation.

Law enforcement agencies have been notified of the breach, and investigations are underway to apprehend those responsible.

Flutterwave has also initiated measures to mitigate the impact of the incident, including temporarily restricting the accounts implicated in the unauthorized transfers.

Industry analysts note that this is not the first time Flutterwave has fallen victim to such security breaches. Over the past fourteen months, the company has grappled with multiple incidents of unauthorized transfers, raising serious concerns about the adequacy of its cybersecurity measures.

In October 2023, Flutterwave reported unauthorized transactions totaling ₦19 billion ($24 million), affecting thousands of account holders across 35 banks and financial institutions.

Subsequent breaches in March and February 2023 saw millions of naira diverted to numerous bank accounts, further exposing vulnerabilities in the company’s systems.

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