Every minute, 12 Nigerians get their payment problems solved using Paga. Now partners with Western Union

Nigerian company Paga founded by CEO Tayo Oviosu and Co- Founded by Jay Alabraba, today announced a new mobile money transfer service in partnership with Western Union, a leader in global payment services. The company’s initial set of products were targeted to the critical needs of Nigeria’s growing cashless economy. In just three years, Nigeria’s Paga has reached 1,303,234 register users with 2,000 users joining every day, and it does over 4.4 million in transactions on the platform. The company employs over 160 people. Western Union integrates directly with the leading mobile payment systems API of Paga Systems. According to the World Bank, Nigeria had more than US $21 billion in migrant remittance inflows during 2012, representing approximately 9% of the country’s gross domestic product.

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Tayo Oviosu, founder and chief executive officer of Paga, said, “Paga continues to execute on its strategy of simplifying payments for all Nigerians – whether you are a business or an individual. This relationship extends our services to the world – now anyone across the globe who needs to send money to Nigeria can ‘Just Paga it’ through Western Union. Paga is proud to work with Western Union and we look forward to continuing to deliver innovative money movement services to Nigerians worldwide.”

The focus of Paga is to deliver innovative and universal access to financial services in Africa. Paga received its provincial license to operate from the Central Bank of Nigeria in November 2010 and full operating license in August 2011. Paga is underpinned by a secure payments platform that is built with the flexibility to operate in any environment and on the most basic mobile phone.

The quest to bring efficiency in payments

To maximize the network effects critical for the long-term success of this service, Paga has taken a multi-stakeholder approach and is partnering with select banks and microfinance institutions. Paga works on all mobile networks. Customers can use Paga via multiple channels – SMS, online, application on the phone, and its nationwide agent network. The company has gone to great lengths to balance simplicity and security of its platform.

Using Paga’s multi-channel platform, consumers can withdraw the money by sending it to a bank account, withdrawing from an ATM, or through Paga’s network of over 4,000 agents in Nigeria. Consumers can also choose to pick-up their funds at participating Western Union agent locations across the country.

“We are proud of the achievement but building sheer numbers has never been Paga’s goal. Our goal is to bring efficient payment systems to all Nigerians – banked or unbanked – and deliver low cost banking services to the mass market. Through our agent network, Paga will continue to educate and empower communities across the country by providing convenient access to financial services,” said Jay Alabraba.

Nigeria has 70.64% of mobile phones penetration as of June 2013, according to Informa’s World Cellular Information Service. By contrast, just 21% of the country’s 162.5 million population have bank accounts, according to the World Bank. Paga has just scratched the surface of what is possible in mobile payments.

Emmanuel Amberber

Inhales & exhale everything startups, tech, entrepreneurship, and the intersection of India & Africa. You can reach him via emmanuel[at]yourstory.com