FairMoney buys PayForce

FairMoney, a Nigerian credit-led digital banking platform, has acquired PayForce, a merchant payment services company that serves small businesses. The value of the cash-and-stock deal is estimated to be between $15 million and $20 million, with both companies declining to disclose the exact terms. PayForce CEO Oluwatomi Ayorinde will head FairMoney’s payments business unit: PayForce by FairMoney. The deal provides an opportunity to offer financial services to both retail and merchant customers in a country where 64 million people are underbanked, according to the World Bank.

While FairMoney primarily operates a credit-led neobanking play targeting retail customers, PayForce, through its network of human ATMs, provides agency banking services, a branchless banking model that extends financial services to the last mile. PayForce serves over 10,000 businesses and has buffed up its product suite to include business banking, finance team tools, B2B payments and virtual cards.

The acquisition will provide incentives for PayForce-acquired merchants who use FairMoney as their primary bank, such as an 18% annual return on deposits, a rate which CEO Laurin Hainy claims retail consumers are taking advantage of on the platform. FairMoney also plans to design specific credit products for different sets of businesses, tackling one of the biggest problems facing small businesses in Nigeria: access to loans and working capital.

FairMoney intends to become the “number one” retail and merchant bank in Nigeria, adding credit cards, remittance, stock, and investment products for its retail customers, and payroll services, BNPL, and online merchant acquiring into its business-facing product suite. FairMoney is in talks to raise a $30 million+ bridge round from new and existing investors to scale operations outside Nigeria and across Africa.

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