As of October 15, 2023, OPay has emerged as Nigeria’s most popular and downloaded fintech app, surpassing global tech giants like WhatsApp, TikTok, Snapchat, and Telegram, as reported by the analytics platform Data.ai.
One of OPay’s groundbreaking features is its use of money transfer technology that operates independently of the traditional banking system. It enables users to transfer money through OPay, regardless of their bank, with funds being credited to the recipient’s account almost instantaneously. This capability has made the app particularly popular among ride-hailing drivers and artisans who often operate in low-trust environments and depend on prompt payment. Additionally, new members are automatically assigned a bank account number based on the last 10 digits of their phone number.
OPay didn’t initially enter the market as a fintech app. In 2018, it launched with ambitious aspirations of becoming a super-app, offering various services, including food delivery and ride-hailing. Supported by funding from SoftBank, the platform diversified its offerings. However, the ban on e-bike-hailing by the Lagos state government in 2020, which also affected food delivery services, prompted OPay to refocus on fintech solutions. This strategic shift eventually propelled it to become a household name.
Recent controversy has surrounded OPay, with complaints about the platform creating bank accounts for users without their explicit consent. The company has countered these claims, asserting that users implicitly agree to account creation when they set up an in-app wallet to access other services. This controversy underscores the evolving landscape and challenges in the fintech sector, particularly in emerging markets like Nigeria.
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