FairMoney, a Nigerian credit-led digital banking platform, has acquired PayForce. a subsidiary of CrowdForce that offers merchant payment services to small businesses, as the digital lender looks to expand its financial services proposition to merchants.
The move will see CrowdForce CEO Oluwatomi Ayorinde join FairMoney, where he will lead the company’s payments business unit: PayForce by FairMoney. The two parties did not disclose the terms of the deal, but sources disclose that the transaction was a cash-and-stock deal in the range of $15 million to $20 million, Techcrunch reports.
FairMoney has primarily operated a credit-led neo-banking strategy targeting retail clients. CrowdForce, through PayForce, offers agency banking services, a branchless banking model that extends financial services to the last mile via a network of human ATMs.
Why Fairmoney purchased PayForce
As the digital retail and merchant banking industry has become more competitive, Fairmoney and PayForce have been forced to develop from their primary goods to a wide range of offers as a result of several iterations, competition-induced innovation, and obtaining venture money.
PayForce started by providing merchants with POS devices and allowing them to offer cash-in, cash-out, transfer and bill payments to retail customers while supplying liquidity via a network of partners. Last year, it reportedly had the largest liquidity among Nigerian agent banking networks, almost ₦1.7 trillion.
The fintech, which serves over 10,000 organizations, has expanded its products to include business banking, finance team tools, B2B payments, and virtual cards. Nonetheless, the fintech business raised $3.6 million in pre-Series A funding in February.
While Fairmoney started with a digital lending product that offers loans from 15 days to 24 months to mainly retail customers, it now provides debit accounts and cards, P2P transfers, and payments to over a million retail customers and small businesses, which have become a big part of its business, as CEO, Laurin Hainy, told TechCrunch.
This acquisition deal will offer incentives to PayForce merchants that use FairMoney as their primary bank, such as an 18% annual return on deposits. Laurin Hainy added that FairMoney would provide customized credit products for various business types, addressing one of the greatest issues small businesses in Nigeria face, like access to working capital.
Laurin Hainy, Fairmoney’s CEO said, “We see ourselves as a retail bank, but the line between merchants and retail is often blurry. We’ve thought about the merchant space more and more, and we see a lot of potential synergies between what PayForce and we have built independently.”
“Our view is that PayForce has an advantage because their software is built for the finance manager and small business owners. PayForce helps them make more money versus a lot of the other competition, which we think are agency banking businesses, as they did not build a product with the merchant in mind; they built the product with the agent in mind. There is a huge difference, so we’re not worried about the competitive landscape there.”
According to Hainy, FairMoney intends to increase its market share and establish itself as Nigeria’s “number one” merchant and retail bank due to the acquisition. The fintech plans to expand its business-facing product suite to include payroll services, BNPL, online merchant purchasing, credit cards, remittance, stock, and investment products for its retail consumers.
Oluwatomi Ayorinde said, “There are multiple ways to win. To win, a startup needs a great product, strong execution, marketing and funds. Investors mostly provide funds.
This acquisition gives CrowdForce and her investors a combined value proposition to begin execution, win and create value for all shareholders. In a fast-paced market like Nigeria, time and speed is critical”
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