Innovation That Matters

AI chatbot makes it easy for Nigerians to pay bills and manage finances

Financial Services

Payment transfer service uses Facebook Messenger so that users can pay bills without access to the internet.

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We recently wrote about this company which is simplifying the infrastructure that integrates payment services across Africa. In Nigeria, it’s possible to pay TV, energy and mobile phone bills online. However, only 39% of the population has access to the internet. Now Kudi, a new Y Combinator-backed startup recently launched in Nigeria, is a Facebook Messenger chatbot and as such doesn’t cost any data to use.

To send a payment to someone via Kudi, users simply need the recipient’s phone number making it easier for people to pay bills and pay each other via messaging. Users can transfer money, pay bills and even buy airtime for their phone through Kudi. Unlike other money transfer services in Nigeria, those using Kudi don’t have to pay any fees when transferring money to bank accounts. Instead, the startup charges a convenience fee of NGN 100 (about USD 30 cents) for bill payments. To date, transactions made through the company total at USD 15,000 and revenue is growing 125 percent week on week. Co-founder Pelumi Aboluwarin puts its popularity down to the fact that many find it hard to adapt to new mobile apps, “preferring to stick with those they already use. Messaging on the other hand is a more compelling interface as it works for people across generations.”

Having completed Y Combinator, the plan is to raise money to expand to Kenya and Ghana. Could this technology be used more widely everywhere in the world?



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