In its ambitious move to further expand on the African continent, Nigerian fintech software provider, AppZone has decided to approve Infobip, an omni-channel communication solution provider to champion its SMS and USSD platform solutions.
With this, AppZone,which currently services more than 400 financial institutions across seven African countries, providing a full spectrum of digital infrastructure for banking and payment solutions, will be able to scale further across Africa.
“As an Infobip customer, we are extremely happy with the product and support that they delivered. They do a lot of things well and we will be looking at implementing other Infobip solutions in the future,” said Iyin Laditan, AppZone Technical Sales Manager.
Also commenting, Barbara Gjurašin, Enterprise Sales Manager at Infobip, noted Infobip will be able to leverage its expertise to provide reliable and fast message delievery for Appzone. “Since AppZone has clients in the financial space, they expect a high rate of messaging delivery that also needs to be reliable and fast. That is something that Infobip can provide. We are a global company, but we provide local support,” she promised.
Founded in 2008, Appzone’s platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and more than 450 microfinance banks across seven African countries. Together, these clients amass a yearly transaction value and yearly loan disbursement of $2 billion and $300 million, respectively. AppZone has positioned itself to develop software that will ultimately make Africa’s financial sector the most innovative and technologically advanced in the world. The company’s goal is to accelerate financial prosperity in Africa through home-grown financial technology.
AppZone provides retail and commercial banks with cloud-based software to run core operations like accounting, deposits, loans and customer interactions, in a fully digital and automated manner. The company provides a full stack of digital infrastructure for financial institutions in Africa, based on proprietary platforms that are built by Africa’s most elite talent to achieve the best market fit, at a fraction of market-related cost. The company operates in a high competitive market, with Nigeria’s fintech market size predicted to reach $543 million by 2022, according to research by Techpoint. The report reveals that significant regulatory and legal developments have occurred since the start of 2021, making this an active year for the fintech industry. This is also against the backdrop of the country embracing technology solutions at an accelerated pace, following the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns. Regulators have been proactive in engaging with the fintech ecosystem and have released several circulars, guidelines and regulations that support growth in this sector.
With AppZone wanting to cement its position as a leader in the market – in Nigeria, as well as across the rest of the African continent – the company identified the need to increase the reliability and lower support times and costs for its transactional SMS and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platforms. SMS and USSD platform solutions are part of the fintech solution offerings that AppZone provides to financial institutions to communicate with their clients across the continent. Ensuring the reliability and availability of the services became particularly crucial as AppZone is preparing to expand its presence into more African territories. In 2020, the company recognised that in order to successfully provide its clients with reliable and fast SMS and USSD proprietary platforms, that can guarantee at least 98% uptime, it would need to harness the services of a reputable communication solutions provider. In addition, AppZone also recognised the need to find a partner that could offer local support, at country level. Up until then, AppZone relied on a variety of different solution providers across its various markets, with mixed levels of success.
Based on a pre-existing relationship, a discussion started with Infobip in 2020. After an assessment of AppZone’s needs, Infobip proposed adding its platforms for enterprise USSD and SMS to the fintech’s product suite. Comprising of push USSD, as well as mobile-initiated options, enterprise USSD allows banks and financial institutions to increase the security of internet banking transactions via the telecoms protocol, which can also be used for several different purposes including verification and authentication. The popularity of SMS is based on the fact that it remains a simple and quick way of delivering text messages to all types of mobile devices. Unlike other chat apps, SMS does not require internet connectivity. It is also a secure and fast channel for two-factor authentication, making it the ideal solution for transactional and banking SMSes.
The project took about two weeks to implement and both the USSD and SMS platforms have proven to provide maximum uptime (98%) for end-user customers of AppZone’s enterprise customers. This has led to increased customer satisfaction and has positioned AppZone as a reliable service provider in the market. This ultimately drives brand loyalty, increased sales and has a positive impact on the organisation’s bottom line. The high reliability and availability of these platforms has also seen a significant improvement in the efficiencies of AppZone’s business, as the company now dedicates much less time and resources to support issues and customer queries. This has allowed staff to be freed up to concentrate on new product development, higher value conversations and other core functions. Furthermore, AppZone has indicated that it will continue to use Infobip as a partner as it executes its expansion strategy into other African countries.