Africa, and Nigeria in particular, has seen an unprecedented growth in the Fintech industry, generating more than $20 billion in revenue as of 2019. Increased smartphone usage coupled with a youthful population and a regulatory drive towards cashless payments, the industry has enjoyed a favorable thriving ground.
Paystack and Flutterwave are two of Nigeria’s (and Africa’s) biggest and most popular online payment platforms. In the last five years, these giant startups have been key players in the fintech scene, creating avenues for smaller, similar companies to develop innovative services through their APIs.
These APIs are used by numerous businesses, entrepreneurs, corporations and freelancers to automate bank transfers, verify customers’ identities during onboarding processes and check account balances, amongst others. Both companies have scored significant financial backing from big investors including venture capitalists and FinTech megacorps.
While both companies provide payment processing solutions, there are significant differences in their features and pricing. An honest attempt at a comparison between them is made as follows:
The features available on PayStack’s dashboard include Payments, Products, Invoices, Recurring Billings and a recently added feature—Chargeback. On the Payments page, merchants can receive either a one-time payment, recurring or subscription payment, or product payment. There is also a customization option that allows merchants to collect more information about the customer which they require.
The Products feature allows merchants to directly sell their products and manage simple inventories. They also have the option of selling either single or multiple products. Invoices allow merchants to send their customers payment bills and invoices easily.
With Recurring Billing, merchants can create billing plans for their customers, who then choose their preferred method of charges. The new feature allows customers to ask for a refund if they feel they have not received value for their money. The merchant reserves to the right to either accept or refute the claim based on tangible evidence.
PayStack charges 1.5% + N100 on local transactions, and 3.9% + N100 on international transactions. The N 100 is waived for transactions below N2,500.
Users of Flutterwave have access to features such as Payment Link, Virtual Cards and Invoices. Payment Link works just like Paystack’s ‘Payment Page’, allowing merchants to receive payments from their customers. It could also be either a single payment or a subscription method. Flutterwave also allows users to create and manage both Naira and Dollar virtual cards on the platform. These cards can be generated for use for different purposes as suits the customer.
The Checkout page allows merchants to collect payments in more than 150 currencies. Flutterwave has said that it would be releasing additional features dubbed ‘Payouts’ and ‘POS’. Charges on local transactions are placed at 1.4% and a processing fee of N2,000, while international transactions attract a 3.8% processing fee.
Nigeria is proving itself as a giant of Africa in the continent’s FinTech sector. As the nation’s financial market continues to grow and both traditional (banks) and digital (FinTech) financial institutions offer easier and more accessible services to previously unbanked customers, payment gateways like PayStack and Flutterwave become even more vital.
This means that giant FinTech companies and investors will be looking to capitalize on Africa’s thriving FinTech market. We have already witnessed companies like FIS, Stripe and Alipay making big acquisition moves. What this adoption of mobile ‘cardless’ transactions could mean for card-reliant companies like Visa and MasterCard is yet unclear, but it is safe to say that they may struggle with remaining relevant in the financial sphere and expanding their business to new frontiers.