Carbon, a leading digital services company based in Nigeria, has introduced a new service targeted at its business customers, the firm said in a press release.

The new platform – Carbon for Business – provides startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and FinTechs with the services and technology needed to build and scale their businesses.

Some of the offerings include access to uncollateralized credit, secure online payments, reliable funds transfer, and fast KYC (know your customer) compliance obligations, the company said.

With the service, businesses can leverage Carbon’s infrastructure to achieve their objectives and strategic goals, boost their value offerings and get to market faster.

“As part of our goal of connecting businesses with the funds and services that will enable them to thrive and expand, we are aiming to provide robust infrastructure and a suite of services that will transform their processes,” said Chijioke Dozie, CEO of Carbon.

Starting and running a business in emerging markets today depends on a combination of having the right technology, payment infrastructure, legal obligation and access to affordable finance.

But most SMEs do not have access to this fundamental framework for survival. According to the World Bank, about 70 percent of businesses could not access finance from the banks in 2018.

In Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania, the share of SME lending in the overall loan portfolios of banks varies between 5 to 20 percent with 45 percent of businesses in emerging markets lacking access to the right technology partners. These are some of the reasons why Carbon decided to provide a new business platform.

SMEs can take advantage of Carbon’s infrastructure to access affordable finance in two ways: through the SME finance product and by offering overdrafts on the Optimus product.

With agency banking and traditional e-payments, businesses regularly face challenges with liquidity, access to cash flow over weekends and long settlement cycles. Using Optimus, Carbon for Business will give businesses quicker access to funds at a far lower rate than the banks while availing them the cash they need to meet business needs when they need it.

Carbon for Business represents a “new era of business growth and transformation, especially for businesses that have been overwhelmed by complexities and rigidity of mundane financial services technologies and traditional sources of financing,” Dozie added.

The new service is also part of Carbon’s advocacy efforts in pushing the Nigerian banking and financial services industry towards adopting Open API standards, as signalled by their recent partnership with Open Banking Nigeria.

As stated by the company, the platform will offer businesses the opportunity to access APIs and services such as:

  • Identity verification – CarbonIVS is an identity verification system that enables businesses to perform KYC and anti-money laundering services on prospective staff or other parties. Carbon IVS is integrated with all major identity databases including passport, Bank Verification Number (BVN), driver’s license and voters registration.
  • Fund transfers and overdraft – The platform will also include Optimus, an affordable and reliable funds transfer platform that provides low-cost transfers.  For qualified businesses, Optimus also provide an overdraft facility that allows customers short-term funding needed to make critical payments during short-term cash shortages.
  • Online payments – Businesses will be able to accept online payments from Visa, Verve, and Mastercard in over 40 currencies. All transactions are PCI DSS compliant, 3D Secure enabled, and processed through an SSL encrypted channel.
  • SME business loans – up to ₦20 million uncollateralized flexible repayment loans.

A product of OneFi, Carbon is a Nigerian digital financial services platform that empowers individuals and businesses with access to credit, simple payment solutions, high-yield investment opportunities and easy-to-use tools for personal financial management. The company has over 90 employees with operations in Nigeria, England, and Kenya.

Since launching in 2016, Carbon has amassed more than 1 million users, disbursed over $35.6 million in loans and in 2018 alone achieved revenues of $10.4 million. “This expansion (Carbon for Business) into business-focused users represents the next step on the journey of becoming the most versatile digital finance platform, anywhere,” the company added.

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