Nigerian’s Carbon enters Kenya’s crowded digital credit market


Nigerian fintech startup Carbon (formerly Paylater) has announced its official launch in Kenya.

Carbon was launched in Nigeria in 2016 primarily as a digital lender, but has expanded its product offering. As a full-service fintech player, Carbon provides its clients with investment options and bill payment options.

With 35% of Kenyans borrowing for consumption, Carbon will offer instant loans of Ksh 500 to 50,000 (~ 1,800 N / ~ $ 5 to ~ 180,000 N / ~ $ 496).

These loans will require a national ID number and a selfie, along with the phone number associated with their mobile wallet.

Beyond loans, Carbon will also bring its other offerings to Kenya as it seeks to become a pan-African digital bank.

This means that customers will have access to payment services to pay their utility bills and purchase airtime directly from the Carbon app.

According to Chijioke Dozie, CEO and Co-Founder of Carbon, “This expansion presents an opportunity to bring lessons to Kenya from other successful African fintech markets. It also allows us to explore what has made the financial services sector in Kenya successful and how that success can be replicated in other markets. “

“Our vision is to be a pan-African digital bank for Africans and Africans in the diaspora. Providing our services in Kenya is the first step in realizing this vision and truly delivering the financial services Africans at home and abroad need to prosper and excel, ”Dozie added.

Carbon claims to have racked up 1.8 million users since launch and disbursed $ 35 million in loans in 2018 on revenue of $ 10.4 million. In March, Carbon secured a $ 5 million credit facility from Loanable, a technology-based finance provider based in New York and Nairobi.

Carbon will compete with 49 digital lenders in Kenya. Tala, Branch, M-PESA, M-Shwari are some of the biggest players in the industry.

Kenya is arguably Africa’s most mature mobile money market, but there are many concerns about regulation.

In 2018, the government sponsored the Management of financial conduct Bill to authorize and regulate digital lenders. The bill also authorizes the capping of sets of interests by the Financial Conduct Market Authority (FMCA).

Most conversations around regulation concern predatory loans and high interest rates.

Carbon alludes to these “progressive” conversations around regulation as one of the reasons for its launch in Kenya.

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